Chemotherapy can effectively shrink cancerous cells before surgery. It can also decrease your risk of breast cancer coming back after surgery. Chemotherapy side effects vary based on what kind of drugs you take and for how long. Common chemotherapy side effects include: fatigue or diarrhea or other.
During chemotherapy treatment, many people still work, exercise and care for their families. For others, the treatment can be exhausting and time-consuming. It may be difficult to keep up with usual activities. Speak with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of chemotherapy. You may manage side effects with supportive medications, such as anti-nausea drugs. Chemotherapy side effects generally go away after you finish treatment.
Is chemotherapy the only treatment for breast cancer? No. Occasionally, chemotherapy is the only breast cancer treatment, but most often, healthcare providers use chemotherapy with other treatments, such as:
- Lumpectomy: Removing the tumor and a small amount of surrounding breast tissue.
- Mastectomy: Removing one or both breasts.
- Hormone therapy: Taking medicines that lower estrogen or block estrogen’s effects on cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy: Taking medicines that target the changes in cancer cells to destroy them or slow their growth.
- Radiation therapy: Using high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells.
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