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What happens during chemotherapy for breast cancer?

Most people receive chemotherapy for breast cancer through one of their veins (IV). You may receive chemotherapy as one short injection or as an infusion. Infusions last longer and usually take place in a hospital or specialized infusion center. When you get to the infusion center, your nurse administers your chemotherapy drugs and any additional medications you need. For example, you may also receive an anti-nausea medication before the chemotherapy drugs.

During the infusion: Your nurse accesses your CVC or starts an IV. You may read, watch television or visit with others during your treatment. Chemotherapy infusions may last a few hours or more. Your nurse flushes the IV line or CVC with a saline solution and removes it. You wait in a recovery area for about 30 minutes to make sure you do not have a negative reaction to treatment.

What happens after chemotherapy for breast cancer? Immediately after chemotherapy, you may feel sleepy or nauseated. Typically, the side effects of chemotherapy go away after you complete all prescribed cycles. After all of your cycles of chemotherapy are completed, your healthcare provider may order imaging tests, such as CT scans or MRIs, to show whether the cancer is gone or the tumor has shrunk.

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