Chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer

A young woman with short hair sitting in a chair with an infusion tube in her hand

Chemotherapy is a treatment using drugs to control cancer growth. The aim of chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer is to slow down or stop the growth of the cancer.

You usually have chemotherapy if you’re not responding to hormone therapy or if your cancer is hormone negative. It might also be used for cancers that are growing quickly or affecting your liver or lungs.

Chemotherapy can relieve symptoms such as pain by controlling the growth of cancer and improve your quality of life. For some people, chemotherapy can make the cancer smaller and keep it under control.

The benefits of treatment with chemotherapy can sometimes last for years.

What kinds of drugs are used?

There are several chemotherapy drugs used to treat metastatic breast cancer. Chemotherapy drugs can be used on their own or in combination with each other. If one drug doesn’t work, there are usually more options. 

If you had chemotherapy to treat primary breast cancer, you will probably be given a different drug to treat your metastatic cancer. 

Chemotherapy may be given directly into a vein as an injection or through an intravenous infusion (drip). Some drugs are given as tablets.

What are the side-effects of chemotherapy?

Side-effects vary and depend on the type and amount of chemotherapy drugs you have. 

For more information

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