NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Stages I and II Breast Cancer, Version 1.2014
What to know
Before chemotherapy, your doctor may ask you to
stop taking some of your medicines, vitamins, or both.
Some of these treatments can cause chemotherapy
to not work as well or may cause health problems
while on chemotherapy. You may also have to change
what you drink and eat. If you smoke, it’s important
that you stop.
All chemotherapy drugs for stages I and II breast
cancer are liquids that are injected into a vein. Only
cyclophosphamide is made in pill form too. The
injection may be one fast shot of drugs into a vein or
may be a slow drip called an infusion. Chemotherapy
can also be given through a needle surgically placed
in the chest or the arm. Trastuzumab and pertuzumab
are given by infusion.
You will need to go to a chemotherapy center to
receive the drugs. How long your visit will be depends
on what drugs you will get. It can take a few minutes
or a few hours to finish a dose of chemotherapy.
It takes about 90 minutes to get the first dose of
trastuzumab and about 30 minutes for later doses.
For pertuzumab, it takes about 60 minutes to get the
first dose and about 30 to 60 minutes for later doses.
During chemotherapy cycles, you may be given other
drugs to help you feel your best. You may be given
drugs to fight nausea and vomiting. You may also
receive filgrastim to increase the number of white
blood cells to normal levels. Blood, heart, and other
tests may be given to check your health.
Chemotherapy after age 70?
The use of chemotherapy for women older than age
of 70 has been questioned. You may not be given
chemotherapy if you are older than 70 years for the
following reasons. First, there is little research on
older women to help inform treatment decisions.
Second, chemotherapy may not be that helpful
because the return of breast cancer can take a
long time in older women. Thus, the odds that
chemotherapy will stop a life-threatening recurrence
are small. Third, some women have reactions to
chemotherapy that threaten their health. Last, you
may have health problems other than cancer that are
Chemotherapy/HER2 inhibitors Receiving chemotherapy