Breast Cancer - Medications
Medicines are used to treat breast cancer and also to help relieve side effects of treatment.
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
Breast Cancer: Should I Have Chemotherapy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer?
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 medicines to control and prevent nausea and vomiting.
Tamoxifen or an
aromatase inhibitor is recommended for
estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer. These
medicines stop estrogen from fueling ER+ breast cancer.
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
monoclonal antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
Trastuzumab (Herceptin) is recommended after surgery and
HER-2/neu 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).