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34

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

:

Breast Cancer – Locally Advanced (STAGE III)

Version 1.2017

3

Chemotherapy and HER2 treatment Review

Supportive care

This book focuses on cancer treatment. However,

supportive care is important, too. Supportive care

doesn’t aim to treat cancer but aims to improve

quality of life. It can address many needs.

Supportive care includes help for side effects. During

chemotherapy cycles, you may be given drugs to

help you feel better. You may be given drugs to fight

nausea and vomiting. To learn more, read the

NCCN Guidelines for Patients ® : Nausea and Vomiting .

You may also get a shot of (peg-)filgrastim under

your skin. This medicine increases the number of

white blood cells to normal levels. This will protect

your immune system during chemotherapy. Some

people give themselves the injection while others

return to the clinic for it. Blood, heart, and other tests

may be given to check your health.

Checking results

Your doctor will want to know how well treatment is

working. The cancer might improve in part (partial

response). It may improve so much that tests cannot

detect it (complete response). It may stay the same

(stable disease). It could also worsen (progression).

Treatment results should be assessed with a physical

exam and imaging tests. Imaging tests that best

showed the tumor when it was found should be

received. Your doctors should meet to select which

imaging tests are best to use.

If the cancer doesn’t respond, your treatment plan

will change. You may receive different chemotherapy

or radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is discussed

in Part 5.

Review

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Chemotherapy is often the first treatment used

for stage III breast cancer. It is given to kill as

many cancer cells as possible.

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In some cases, chemotherapy is given after

surgery to prevent the cancer from returning.

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You should receive HER2 treatment with

chemotherapy if the cancer is HER2-positive.

HER2 antibodies stop certain growth signals

within cancer cells.

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There are multiple chemotherapy regimens for

breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about which

ones are best for you.

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Chemotherapy is given in cycles of treatment

days followed by days of rest.

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Chemotherapy and HER2 antibodies can cause

side effects. Ask your treatment team for a

complete list of side effects.