11 doctors weighed in:

Why do some doctors give chemo before surgery to shrink breast tumor?

11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Devon Webster
Internal Medicine - Oncology
5 doctors agree

In brief: To shrink big tumors

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is for three main reasons: 1.
To treat inflammatory breast cancer, when chemotherapy should always be given before surgery 2. To shrink large breast cancers that are very close to the chest wall muscle before they have a chance to invade 3. To shrink large tumors in order to avoid a mastectomy and have only the lump removed instead (lumpectomy). The risk of cancer returning is no different that having chemotherapy after surgery.

In brief: To shrink big tumors

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is for three main reasons: 1.
To treat inflammatory breast cancer, when chemotherapy should always be given before surgery 2. To shrink large breast cancers that are very close to the chest wall muscle before they have a chance to invade 3. To shrink large tumors in order to avoid a mastectomy and have only the lump removed instead (lumpectomy). The risk of cancer returning is no different that having chemotherapy after surgery.
Dr. Devon Webster
Dr. Devon Webster
Thank
Dr. Barry Rosen
Surgery
5 doctors agree

In brief: Neoadjuvant ChemoRx

It is not uncommon to have sufficient information about a breast cancer from biopsy and a mammogram to decide whether or not chemotherapy is needed.
Accordingly, it may be advantageous to give the chemo before surgery. The main benefit is to shrink a large tumor and avoid a mastectomy. Other potential benefits are starting the most important rx first and being able to gauge cancer sensitivity.

In brief: Neoadjuvant ChemoRx

It is not uncommon to have sufficient information about a breast cancer from biopsy and a mammogram to decide whether or not chemotherapy is needed.
Accordingly, it may be advantageous to give the chemo before surgery. The main benefit is to shrink a large tumor and avoid a mastectomy. Other potential benefits are starting the most important rx first and being able to gauge cancer sensitivity.
Dr. Barry Rosen
Dr. Barry Rosen
Thank
Dr. John Thaler
Dentistry - Prosthodontics
3 doctors agree

In brief: Less invasive

The smaller the tumor, the less invasive the surgery to attain clear borders, and the less disfiguring it will be.
Also, this requires less reconstructive surgery as an added benefit.

In brief: Less invasive

The smaller the tumor, the less invasive the surgery to attain clear borders, and the less disfiguring it will be.
Also, this requires less reconstructive surgery as an added benefit.
Dr. John Thaler
Dr. John Thaler
Thank
3 doctors agree

In brief: Depends

It depends on several things, such as the cell type of the cancer, if it is hormone sensitive.
Larger cancers, if there are multiple sites of breast cancer, or if the cancer has already spread may be conditions where chemotherapy is used before surgery to shrink the tumor first so as to possibly minimize the amount of surgery needed, or to avoid a mastectomy.

In brief: Depends

It depends on several things, such as the cell type of the cancer, if it is hormone sensitive.
Larger cancers, if there are multiple sites of breast cancer, or if the cancer has already spread may be conditions where chemotherapy is used before surgery to shrink the tumor first so as to possibly minimize the amount of surgery needed, or to avoid a mastectomy.
Dr. Mark Hoepfner
Dr. Mark Hoepfner
Thank
Dr. William A Biermann
Internal Medicine - Oncology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Yes for shrinking

I agree with several of the other answers.
It is used as a means to reduce a tumor that could not be treated with breast conservation, so that it can. We are learning that strongly hormone receptor sensitive tumors might do better with hormone blocking agents. Her-2 postitive tumors may have the best benefit. This treatment does not impact on cure in a major way.

In brief: Yes for shrinking

I agree with several of the other answers.
It is used as a means to reduce a tumor that could not be treated with breast conservation, so that it can. We are learning that strongly hormone receptor sensitive tumors might do better with hormone blocking agents. Her-2 postitive tumors may have the best benefit. This treatment does not impact on cure in a major way.
Dr. William A Biermann
Dr. William A Biermann
Thank
Read more answers from doctors