Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, your physician may have recommended chemotherapy before or after breast cancer surgery. Chemotherapy, a cancer treatment that utilizes powerful cancer-killing drugs, destroys hard-to-reach cancer cells, lowering the chance of cancer spreading to other areas of the body. When used in conjunction with surgery or radiation therapy, chemotherapy can help patients with breast cancer reduce the possibility of cancer returning.

When is chemotherapy recommended for breast cancer?

Depending on the staging and location of your breast cancer, chemotherapy may not be needed. However, when your oncology team recommends it, you may receive your chemotherapy before or after breast cancer surgery, or you may receive chemotherapy without cancer surgery.

Before surgery

Surgery is typically a first line of defense against breast cancer and many other types of cancers. Surgery can remove the cancerous tumors or tissues, occasionally curing cancer entirely without needing more intensive treatments.

However, sometimes chemotherapy may be recommended before a lumpectomy or mastectomy to shrink a tumor or fight back some of the cancer cells to make surgery more successful and less invasive.

After surgery

Sometimes chemotherapy is recommended to begin after a lumpectomy or mastectomy to ensure that any cancer cells that may have been left behind or those that may not have been detected are destroyed. This reduces the possibility that the cancer will come back after surgery.

Primary treatment

When breast cancer has already moved into different parts of the body, sometimes surgery may not be a good treatment option. In those cases, chemotherapy may be the best line of defense.

What are the side effects of chemotherapy for breast cancer?

Chemotherapy for any type of cancer can cause several side effects that may occur immediately, like nausea, fatigue, or hair loss, or may persist long-term, like fertility issues, heart damage, nerve damage or leukemia.

It’s important for women with breast cancer, especially those with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer to speak with their oncology team and gynecologist about fertility options and birth control. Because this type of breast cancer is impacted by hormones, hormone-based birth controls may not be recommended. In addition, getting pregnant during cancer treatment can also cause issues. We can council you and your family on the best path forward, based on your family planning goals.

For those with heart health concerns, our partners at Georgia Heart Institute offer a collaborative cardio-oncology program to monitor your heart health during and after chemotherapy treatments. Learn more.

Advanced Chemotherapy Treatments

Chemotherapy is administered through a vein (IV) in one of our medical oncologist’s offices or one of our specialized infusion suites, designed to help you feel comfortable while you receive treatment.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center is committed to staying at the forefront of medical advancements, particularly in the field of cancer treatment. Our dedicated team of oncologists, nurses, and support staff participate in national research and engage in annual programs to enhance our quality of care. We offer cancer treatments tailored to your specific needs for the best possible outcome.

Patients who choose NGMC for their cancer care services experience many advantages, including:

  • State-Of-The Art Equipment – Providing exceptional care requires advanced technology. Our facility is equipped with the latest technology including leading chemotherapy delivery systems.
  • Expert Medical Staff – Our team of board-certified providers are experienced and highly skilled. As experts in their field, they possess extensive knowledge in treating breast cancer.
  • Compassionate Support – We understand that navigating a breast cancer diagnosis requires more than medical expertise. Our Patient Navigation Program provides clinical, emotional, and financial guidance to our patients and their families.

Multi-Disciplinary Treatments

Our award-winning cancer program provides patients across North Georgia with access to an expert oncology team ready to develop the best multidisciplinary treatment plan for your breast cancer treatment. NGHS offers a range of treatments in addition to chemotherapy:

Patient Navigation

No one is prepared for a cancer diagnosis. Our patient navigation program is a free offering for patients who need help with anything from navigating the treatment journey to those who need transportation to appointments or nutritious food. Learn more and reach out to our cancer Patient Navigators.

Choose NGMC for Breast Cancer Care

When it comes to your breast cancer treatment, choose NGHS for quality care and compassionate service. For more information about breast cancer care available at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, call 770-219-8815.