Chemotherapy is one treatment option for breast cancer. Chemotherapy may be given intravenously or by mouth. It works by traveling through the bloodstream to kill cancer cells in most parts of the body, not just in the breasts. Chemotherapy is most often given as a combination of 2 or 3 different drugs, which have been specifically formulated for the individual patient.
How Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer is Given
Chemotherapy treats the entire body, not just the breast. It may be used to kill cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body. It may also be given before or after surgery to reduce the chance of recurrence of breast cancer.
- Chemotherapy for breast cancer given after breast surgery is known as adjuvant chemotherapy.
- Chemotherapy for breast cancer given before breast surgery is given neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
- Chemotherapy may also be given as a main treatment for breast cancer that has spread.
Chemotherapy Side Effects
Chemotherapy targets cells that divide quickly, like cancer cells. However, there are other types of cells in the body that also naturally divide quickly, like cells in the hair, mouth, and bone marrow. During chemotherapy treatment, these areas are more likely to have side effects. Common side effects from chemotherapy for breast cancer include:
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
- Appetite changes
- Increased risk for infections
- Easy bruising or bleeding
Breast Cancer Screening
The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcomes are. In order to diagnose breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages, the breast imaging specialists at The Breast Center of Maple Grove recommend annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40. A different screening schedule may be appropriate for some women, so speak with your doctor to determine what is best for you.
Breast Cancer Screening Minneapolis Metro Area
At The Breast Center of Maple Grove, screening mammograms can be performed Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 5:00pm, with extended hours until 8:00pm on Tuesdays. Walk-ins are welcome and same-day appointments are available.