Doctor insights on:
Are There Any Proven Alternatives To Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer Treatment
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. ...Read more
Cancer is a group of diseases that is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth leading to invasion of surrounding tissues that spread to other parts of the body. Cancer can begin anywhere in the body and is usually related to one or more genetic mutations that allow normal cells to become malignant by interfering with internal cellular control mechanisms, such as programmed cell death or by preventing ...Read more
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. ...Read more
Medication: Begin with basic nausea medicines such as Compazine or phenergan, (promethazine) if not improved then more expensive medications such as Zofran or others. It also helps if patients avoid smells or foods that seem to trigger the symptom. Sometimes even perfumes and non food smells may be an issue and you can avoid them if suspected. Foods like crackers, 7-up, ginger ale or ginger root can help. ...Read more
Chemotherapy: Tamoxifen is a very effective drug for the treatment of hormone-sensitive (estrogen receptor +) breast cancers. It may be used alone or in combination with traditional IV chemotherapy, depending on the cancer stage. Furthermore, tamoxifen has been shown to be effective reducing the chance of developing breast cancer in high-risk women ("chemoprevention"). ...Read more
Depends on treatment: This is a complex question. Each treatment-surgery, radiation, chemo, hormonal- has it's own uniques set of side effects. In addition, not everyone will experience side effects. The good news is that most side effects can be managed with treatment or medications. Be sure to ask your oncology team questions. ...Read more
Are there negative effects of breast cancer treatment/ mammography after a year? What should I expect?
Mammo is low risk: Treatment effects can vary significantly depending on what is done (type of surgery, radiation, chemo). Mammography should not have any significant effects, especially after one year. Mammograms are low dose radiation, but any radiation can increase cancer risk over the long term (decades). The cancer risk from mammograms is extremely low. Note that you are below the recommended screening age. ...Read more
?: I have never had an issue of trastuzumab (herceptin) coverage in appropriate patients. Individual co-pays are based on each patients insurance. There may be a benefit of trastuzumab in 0/low expression breast cancer that is the subject of a cooperative group clinical trial -- nsabp b-47 - clinicaltrials. Gov id: nct01275677. ...Read more
Breast cancer tx: During a breast cancer treatment, you would work closely with your oncology team- including a breast surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist. All of them will work with you so you can get the best therapy available tailored to your case and to ensure that you can get through the therapy well, cope with those possible adverse events and still able to maintain descent quality of life. ...Read more
Probably: You MUST have your 2 Drs coordinate with each other. You MUST discuss this with both Drs. ...Read more
Get a team: ...Of specialists (breast surgeon, med onc, and rad onc), preferably working together in a multidisciplinary setting, who will evaluate the situation from the beginning and make a concerted plan of attack. This should include dietitian, physical therapist, and if needed a genetics counselor. ...Read more
How does breast cancer treatment affect work? How long will I be off of work for breast cancer treatment?
Highly variable: I agree with dr. Wilson. There are many treatments for breast cancer ranging from minor surgery and hormone pills, to more extensive surgery with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. You would need to discuss your specific situation with your oncologist who would have much more information for you. ...Read more
Depends...: ...On many factors. Current standards of care do not recommend scans for patients with low risk for recurrence as they do not improve the overall chances of surviving the cancer (this was proven in at least 2 or 3 clinical studies). Patients with stage 3 cancer often do get scans, especially in the beginning, to do a complete staging. ...Read more
No: This and similar medicines are anti Estrogens that block the receptors. So if the patient has negative receptors there is little benefit from the medication. So it's not a must. ...Read more
Yes: Tamoxifen is a very effective drug for the treatment of hormone-sensitive (estrogen receptor +) breast cancers. It may be used alone or in combination with traditional IV chemotherapy, depending on the cancer stage. It has no role in rx of estrogen (-) breast ca. Furthermore, aromatase inhibitors are an effective alternative to tamoxifen for estrogen (+) breast cancer after menopause. ...Read more
Yes: Tamoxifen has been shown to increase the risk of uterine cancer, not unlike estrogen replacement therapy, with an incidence of ~1:500. However, this is almost-always caught at its earliest stage, with very high cure rates. If you compare the benefit of tamoxifen for either treating or preventing breast cancer compared to this risk, the benefit far outweighs the risk. ...Read more
Be supportive: It's a long road. Be there to listen and encourage. Even if times get tough and side effects become an issue, encourage her to listen to her doctors. ...Read more
Vaginal lubricants: I recommend you work with your oncologist and gynecologist for recommendations. You may need a vaginal cream or lubricant to help. A preparation with a low dose of estrogen may be helpful, but again please work with your gynecologist and breast cancer team for optimal results. ...Read more
Yes: The chance is about 1% and treatment is hysterectomy. With such a low chance then tamoxifen is worth the risk. A gynecologist needs to keep track of the patient and any unusual bleeding evaluated. There are also other hormone alternatives with less risk. Check with your medical oncologist to see which drug is best for a particular patient. ...Read more
Can the experts please talk about the newest breast cancer treatment + free or cheap for stage 4 breast cancer?
Clinical trial: Stage 4 breast cancer treatments include a variety of complex options. I suggest that you look into enrolling into a funded clinical trial for stage 4 breast cancer, which will provide options for reduced or free treatment (see: http://www. Cancer. Gov/clinicaltrials). In addition, please consult with a social worker to see what other options for coverage that may be available to you. Good luck. ...Read more
Can a 38 year old get a gum ulcer and it not mean anything serious? Worry a lot since completing Breast cancer treatment & CDiff treatment 1.5 yrs ago
Is it common for people who are using herceptin (trastuzumab) as a breast cancer treatment to have raised liver blood test readings?
Not usually: Herceptin (trastuzumab) is a pretty safe drug. As far as I know it does not affect liver functions. But many other drugs including chemotherapy can increase the liver enzymes. You should ask you oncologist to confirm it with the drug manufacturer or from a drug information source. ...Read more
Is raloxefene the only breast cancer treatment that helps the bones against osteoporosis and does it build new bone, & prevent hip and spine fractures?
One of it: Evista (raloxifene) or Raloxifene is a selective estrogen modulating drug, used in post menopausal breast cancers, is slightly better than tomaxifen in certain aspects, like reducing osteoporoses, reduce the incidence of fractures, has to be used with caution, in presence of vascular, renal & heart diseases may cause lethal thromboembolism. Speak to your oncologist. ...Read more
I am on tamoxifen after breast cancer treatment and bilateral mastectomy and now a complete hysterectomy. How much soy in my diet is safe?
Soy is fine in mod: We don't have great data on the effects of soy (and phytoestrogens) on breast cancer. We believe that they act like weak Estrogens and may mimic the effects of tamoxifen (thus reducing risk) but in high doses could have negative effects. So it should be safe to eat some soy but avoid large amounts, like in supplements or shakes, etc. ...Read more
Occurs when glandular cells lining the milk ducts and lobules of the human breast begin to grow in an unregulated manner. Often curable if found early and treated effectively with surgery, hormonal therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy, or a combination thereof. Early detection before the malignancy becomes large enough to be felt depends on mammography/sonography and MRI imaging of the breast ...Read more
Most breast cancers are carcinomas. This is a type of breast cancer. These cancers start in the cells that line organs and tissues. In fact, breast cancers are often a type of carcinoma called adenocarcinoma, which starts in cells that make glands (glandular tissue). Breast adenocarcinomas start in the ducts (the milk ducts) or ...Read more