Chemotherapy can be used to slow the spread of metastatic breast cancer and reduce the size of any tumors that have formed. Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment, meaning that it affects the entire body. As a result, it can be an effective option for destroying cancerous cells that have spread outside of their original location (e.g., to the lungs, liver or brain).
Medical oncologists – physicians who specialize in chemotherapy – may recommend oral chemotherapy (pills that are taken by mouth) or intravenous chemotherapy (medications that are infused directly into the bloodstream). And, with regard to the specific chemotherapy medications that are prescribed for a patient, there are a variety of options for treating metastatic breast cancer. Prior to making a recommendation, medical oncologists typically evaluate:
- The cellular composition of a patient’s tumor
- Where in the body the metastatic tumors are located
- Whether the patient has undergone any previous rounds of chemotherapy, and if so, which medications were used
- The patient’s age and medical history, and how these variables could influence the patient’s response to treatment
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our medical oncologists also take into account evidence-based best practices that indicate which medications are most likely to produce the best possible outcome – in terms of both prognosis and quality of life – in any particular situation. At the same time, we understand that each patient is highly unique. We believe that individualized treatment is critical to achieving optimal results, which is why our team continually monitors each patient’s response to treatment and makes any modifications that may be necessary along the way. As newer and more effective treatment options continually become available, we’re committed to providing our patients with access to the most appropriate therapies for their specific diagnoses.