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A 35-year-old member asked:

Is there a less toxic alternative to chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment?

4 doctor answers15 doctors weighed in
Dr. Greg Pahnke
Surgery - Oncology 45 years experience
Yes: We look at each cancer's profile - estrogen / Progesterone /her-2 receptors as well as histology-size, grade , blood vessel invasioneg then the patient herself age menopause status-if recepto pos. And older pt. Ie postmenopausal we often treat with hormonal therapy - pills - that have a less severe side effect profile but still not without problems - osteoporosis uterine cancer catarats.
Dr. Sean Canale
Breast Surgery 31 years experience
Hormonal Therapy: The vast majority (80-85%) of breast cancer is hormone sensitive/driven. Pathology testing can determine if a tumor is er+. Unless otherwise contraindicated, all er+ patients should be considered for hormone therapy. If strongly er+, they may get more benefit from this than from chemotherapy. Specialized testing (oncotype dx) is often used to determine if chemotherapy is still needed in er+ pt.
Dr. Michael Thompson
Hematology and Oncology 21 years experience
Potentially: Brca tx may include chemo, hormones, radiation, bone targeted tx & diet/exercise as "adjvuant" (post surgery) treatment. The combo needed depends on the tumor characteristics (grade, stage, hormone receptor status - er, pr; and her2/neu status). Non chemo tx can include hormones - eg tamoxifen, arimidex, (anastrozole) etc; trastuzumab (herceptin - anti her2 antibody). Optimal therapy may include all those.
Dr. Bahman Daneshfar
Radiation Oncology 34 years experience
Yes: In some cases hormonal treatment can be as effective as chemotherapy. However if there is benefit from chemotherapy then it would be in addition to hormonal therapy. You should ask what percent benefit chemotherapy would give your circumstance and then decide if it's worth it to you to not accept that benefit.

Similar questions

A 42-year-old member asked:

What is a less toxic more natural alternative to chemo therapy for breast cancer treatment ?

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Raja Mudad
Medical Oncology 33 years experience
None proven: Unfortunately, the only scientifically proven treatment is chemotherapy. As much as we feel with patients regarding side effects, one should not opt for less proven therapies.
A 36-year-old member asked:

What are common proven alternatives to chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Barry Rosen
General Surgery 35 years experience
Alternative to what?: Chemotherapy is the administration of a drug that circulates throughout the body and kills cancer cells. Our goal is to choose the most effective drug tailored to one's specific cancer subtype. If by "alternative" you mean alternative to proven, standard therapy...No. However, many of our "standard" drugs are well-tolerated w/o traditional side-effects like hair loss, nausea, etc.
Dr. Michael Thompson
Hematology and Oncology 21 years experience
I agree with Dr. Rosen. Ask about effective not alternative. Depending on Patient- / tumor- characteristics surgery, radiation, chemo, hormones may be needed. An additional adjunct "alternative" is lifestyle -- comments: ASCO Blog: Breast Cancer, Diet, Exercise, and Treatment Cost -- http://connection.asco.org/commentary/article/id/3075/breast-cancer-diet-exercise-and-treatment-cost.aspx
Feb 8, 2012
Last updated Apr 5, 2020


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