NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Breast Cancer – Locally Advanced (STAGE III)
Chemotherapy and HER2 treatment Review
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 theNCCN 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.
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.
Chemotherapy is often the first treatment used
for stage III breast cancer. It is given to kill as
many cancer cells as possible.
In some cases, chemotherapy is given after
surgery to prevent the cancer from returning.
You should receive HER2 treatment with
chemotherapy if the cancer is HER2-positive.
HER2 antibodies stop certain growth signals
within cancer cells.
There are multiple chemotherapy regimens for
breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about which
ones are best for you.
Chemotherapy is given in cycles of treatment
days followed by days of rest.
Chemotherapy and HER2 antibodies can cause
side effects. Ask your treatment team for a
complete list of side effects.