Invasive ductal carcinoma chemotherapy may be given before breast cancer surgery to shrink tumors and destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells, or after a surgical procedure to address any residual cancer and reduce the likelihood of recurrence. If cancer is detected early, chemotherapy can sometimes shrink a tumor dramatically, making surgery easier to perform and more likely to be successful. In general, the treatment involves taking anti-cancer medicines by injection into a vein or by mouth in pill form. These medicines then travel through the bloodstream to reach and destroy cancerous cells in various areas of the body.
Chemotherapy is generally given in cycles, usually with each day of treatment followed by a period of “off” days. The exact schedule can vary depending on the medications used. An entire course of chemotherapy usually takes approximately three to six months to complete, and can be repeated as necessary.
Invasive ductal carcinoma chemotherapy can be effective for treating many types of breast cancer, including:
- Triple negative breast cancer
- HER2/neu-positive breast cancer
- Large tumors that cannot be surgically removed
At Moffitt Cancer Center, the multispecialty team of experts in our Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program works closely with each patient to determine the most appropriate course of chemotherapy. Breast cancer treatment is highly individualized and depends on the specific features of a cancer, such as whether it is HER2-positive, as well as a patient’s unique characteristics and other health conditions. Moffitt’s breast cancer oncologists are also fertility experts who can make it possible for a woman to receive carefully timed chemotherapy during pregnancy or while retaining fertility and breastfeeding abilities for future childbearing.