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When, where and how you have chemotherapy
Treatment and Side Effects
Chemotherapy chemo uses anti-cancer drugs that may be given intravenously injected into your vein or by mouth. The drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells in most parts of the body. Occasionally, chemo may be given directly into the spinal fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Not all women with breast cancer will need chemo, but there are several situations in which chemo may be recommended:. For certain types of breast cancer, if there are tumor cells still found at the time of surgery also called residual disease , you may be offered more chemotherapy after surgery to reduce the chances of the cancer coming back recurrence. Sometimes it is not clear if chemotherapy will be helpful.
Treatment of Breast Cancer by Stage
For those with early breast cancer, chemotherapy is usually given after breast surgery called adjuvant chemotherapy , but before radiation therapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy helps lower the risk of breast cancer recurrence by getting rid of cancer cells that might still be in the body. These cells are too small to see on scans or to measure with lab tests. Learn more about getting chemotherapy.
The list includes generic and brand names. This page also lists common drug combinations used in breast cancer. The individual drugs in the combinations are FDA-approved. However, the drug combinations themselves usually are not approved, although they are widely used. There may be drugs used in breast cancer that are not listed here.