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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Breast Cancer - Early-Stage


, Version 1.2016

Some women with stage I or II breast

cancer will receive chemotherapy

with or without HER2 inhibitors. Part

4 explains who needs chemotherapy

after surgery. It also presents some

details on what to expect during

chemotherapy and which drugs are

used for stages I and II breast cancer.



Chemotherapy, or “chemo,” is often given after

surgery. It is given to lower the chances of breast

cancer returning outside the breast. The chances of

the cancer returning differ among women. Doctors

predict the return of cancer based on features of the

cancer and research results.

As explained in Part 3, chemotherapy is the first

cancer treatment for some women with larger breast

tumors. It is given to shrink the cancer. If the cancer

shrinks enough, surgery may be an option.

Chemotherapy includes drugs that disrupt the life

cycle of cancer cells. Some chemotherapy drugs kill

cancer cells by damaging their DNA or by disrupting

the making of DNA. Other drugs interfere with cell

parts that are needed for making new cells. Thus, no

new cells are made to replace dying cells.


Chemotherapy and

HER2 inhibitors

40 Overview

44 Treatment options

44 HER-2 negative cancer

46 HER-2 positive cancer

48 What to expect

50 Regimens

50 HER-2 negative cancer

52 HER-2 positive cancer

54 Review