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Breast Cancer Health Center

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Breast Cancer - Medications

Medicines are used to treat breast cancer and also to help relieve side effects of treatment.


A combination 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 are:

Breast Cancer: Should I Have Chemotherapy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer?

The 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.

Hormone therapy

Medicines used for hormone therapy stop or slow the growth of hormone-sensitive cancer cells. These medicines include:

Hormone-blocking treatments 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

Targeted therapies use medicines or substances that go directly to the cancer cells and don't harm normal cells. They include monoclonal antibodies, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and PARP inhibitors.

The side effects of targeted therapies will depend on the type of medicine that is given. They include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some medicines can also cause side effects that are more serious.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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