Dr. Terpenning discusses the frequency and duration of chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment. Breast Cancer breast-cancer.
The Frequency of Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer What Determines The Frequency and Duration Of Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer? Dr. Marilou Terpenning: Whenever you are diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the things that we look at, first of all, is the tumor itself to get some sense of its biology, and that will help us predict weather or not a woman has increased risk for recurrence of breast cancer outside of the breast. Surgery and radiation are designed to take care of breast cancer locally so it never comes back locally. The job of the medical oncologist is to see if a woman has enough risk that tumor could come back elsewhere in her body in the future to merit to taking treatment, that’s oral treatment or IV treatments. Systematically, it will affect her whole body. The way the decision has reach just to how often one receives chemotherapy, what types of drugs you use is based upon the risk that a cancer presents to a woman. Women who have lymph node metastasis from breast cancer generally receive chemotherapy in America. Women with non-lymph node involved breast cancer who have certain characteristics of their tumor, either large or primary cancers, or tumors that are not amendable to treatment with hormones, or tumors that have aggressive growth characteristics, or biologic features are selected to be treated with chemotherapy because we know that the risk is there that justifies the side effects of chemotherapy to lower the risk predestine recurrence in the future. There are sophisticated testing that can be done in women who are lymph node negative and even in early lymph node negative breast cancer. Taking a look at genetic profiles of tumors to help us decide what risk a woman has. Based upon that risk, we then select an appropriate chemotherapy regimen. Because as I mentioned, there are 46 commonly used chemotherapy regimens, some are briefer, some are longer, and some involve the use of biologic treatments such as Herceptin along with chemotherapy. We need to use the attributes of the cancer and what risk could prevent presents to women in order to be able to decide what preventive chemotherapy they get. So, that’s what will help decide which regimen is recommended.