Medicines are used to treat breast cancer and also to help relieve side effects of treatment.
A combination of medicines is typically used to treat breast cancer. The number of cycles of treatment will depend on the medicines that are used and how the medicines are given. Chemotherapy often uses several medicines together. Some of the most commonly used medicines are:
- Reference Carboplatin.
- Reference Cyclophosphamide.
- Reference Docetaxel.
- Reference Doxorubicin.
- Reference Fluorouracil.
- Reference Paclitaxel.
- Opens New Window Breast Cancer: Should I Have Chemotherapy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer? Opens New Window
The Reference side effects of chemotherapy depend mainly on the medicines you receive. As with other types of treatment, side effects vary from person to person. Your doctor may also prescribe Reference medicines to control and prevent nausea and vomiting.
Reference Tamoxifen or an Reference aromatase inhibitor is recommended for Reference estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) Opens New Window breast cancer. These medicines stop estrogen from fueling ER+ breast cancer.
- Reference Tamoxifen is a medicine that blocks the effect of estrogen on breast cancer cells and normal breast cells. But this medicine may also increase other risks, such as for Reference endometrial cancer Opens New Window, Reference stroke Opens New Window, and Reference blood clots in veins Opens New Window and Reference in the lungs Opens New Window.
- Reference Aromatase inhibitors, such as letrozole (Femara), anastrozole (Arimidex), and exemestane (Aromasin), are medicines that stop estrogen production in postmenopausal women. Aromatase inhibitors are used to treat early estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer. They are also used to treat metastatic or recurrent ER+ breast cancer. An aromatase inhibitor can be used alone or after tamoxifen treatment.
Reference Hormone-blocking treatments, such as tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor, may cause fewer side effects than chemotherapy. If you are deciding what type of medicine to use, weigh the benefits and risks of these medicines for your type of cancer.
Targeted therapies use medicines or substances that go directly to the cancer cells and don't harm normal cells. They include Reference monoclonal antibodies Opens New Window and Reference tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
- Trastuzumab (Reference Herceptin) is recommended after surgery and chemotherapy for Reference HER-2/neu Opens New Window breast cancer. This medicine is a monoclonal antibody that targets the HER-2 protein. It helps chemotherapy work better.
- Lapatinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, may be used to treat women who have HER-2+ cancer that has progressed even after they have taken trastuzumab.
- PARP inhibitor therapy is another kind of targeted therapy for triple-negative breast cancer (cancer cells that do not have estrogen or progesterone receptors or large amounts of HER2/neu).
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 22, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Catherine D. Serio, PhD - Behavioral Health