Breast cancer is a cancer that occurs in the breast tissue due to uncontrolled development of unusual breast cells.
It is one of the most common cancer types among women.
The types of breast cancer are: ductal carcinoma in situ, lobular carcinoma in situ, invasive ductal carcinoma, invasive lobular carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer, medullary carcinoma, sarcoma, metaplastic carcinoma and Paget’s disease of the nipple.
Any of these breast cancer types can be treated with chemotherapy.
It is the use of anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells. Breast cancer chemotherapy treatment is a systemic procedure that affects your overall body.
However, for breast cancer chemotherapy, the drugs usually come in the form of pill or injection. These chemotherapy drugs can be given in four ways: orally (through mouth), injection into the vein, into the muscle or into the abdominal cavity.
The way breast cancer chemotherapy is used depends on several factors such as your age and general health, past medical history, the type and extent of your breast cancer, your forbearance for the medications and your personal preference.
Before starting the breast cancer chemotherapy, your oncologist will verify about your chemotherapy treatment such as how long and how frequently you undergo chemotherapy treatments.
Breast cancer chemotherapy drugs are given in specific cycles: treatment will be given for a period of time and a recovery period follows, then another treatment starts.
In the breast cancer chemotherapy, the drugs are given to obstruct the fast dividing cancer cells. These anti-cancer drugs work by stopping the growth and reproduction of the cancerous cells.
There are several different drugs are available for breast cancer chemotherapy treatment. Here is the list of chemotherapy drugs for breast cancer:
Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) – It is an intravenous medication (injection into the veins). Usually, it is given along with cyclophosphamide. This combination of drugs is known as “AC.”
Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) – It is available in the form of injection as well as tablet. The injection will be given into the veins. This drug is given together with doxorubicin and the combination of drugs is known as “AC.”
Methotrexate (Folex, Mexate, Amethopterin) – It is an intravenous medication. Mostly, it is given along with cyclophosphamide and fluouracil and this combination of drugs is known as “CMF.”
Fluorouracil (5FU) – Even this is an intravenous medication that is given intravenously. It is given with a combination of cyclophosphamide and methotrexate, which is known as “CMF.”
Epirubicin (Ellence) – It is similar to doxorubicin and is an intravenous medication.
Paclitaxel (Taxol), docetaxel (Taxotere), paclitaxel (Abraxane) – Taxol is for early and advanced breast cancer treatment. Taxotere is for metastatic breast cancer treatment. Abraxane is for advanced or recurrent breast cancer treatment. All these drugs relates to a group called taxanes.
Capecitabine (Xeloda), Vinorelbine (Navelbine) – An oral chemotherapy drug for advanced breast cancer treatment.
Gemcitabine (Gemzar) – It is an anti-metabolite for advanced breast cancer treatment.
The side effects of these drugs can be very mild or severe. Sometimes, you experience no side effects. Remember that the side effects vanish with the stoppage of the treatment.