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How is anticancer chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy drugs stop the process of cancer cells from growing and dividing. Chemotherapy, like radiation therapy, can affect healthy cells. This can cause side effects. Some common side effects include nausea, vomiting, feeling tired (called fatigue), and a decrease in the number of cells in the blood. These side effects will disappear when normal, healthy cells develop again. Chemotherapy is mainly applied in two ways:

• Intravenous (through a vein): the medication is given into a vein, with a needle placed under your arm or a catheter into a central vein. Central venous catheters (CVC) also called central venous access devices are used to deliver medications, nutrients, or fluids directly into the bloodstream. The two most common types are the port-a-cath and the peripherally inserted central venous catheter (PICC).














• Orally (by mouth): you take a pill that contains the chemotherapy drug.

Chemotherapy can be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that still remain in your body. A woman undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer usually takes one or more chemotherapy drugs in combination. The duration of treatment is planned according to the type of tumor and varies in each case. Even if you do not feel any discomfort, drug applications should not be suspended.  The duration of treatment will depend on the indication. In adjuvant and preoperative therapy, they last, on average, six months. In cases of metastatic disease (palliative treatment) it tends to be long, and medications can be changed according to the response and evolution of the disease.

What are the most common chemotherapy regimens for breast cancer?

In neoadjuvant or preoperative chemotherapy, the most used regimen is the association of Anthracycline (Doxorubicin or Epirubicin) and Cyclophosphamide for 4 cycles, followed by 12 weekly cycles of Paclitaxel. In HER2 positive tumors there is an association of a double blockade with the monoclonal antibodies Trastuzumab and Pertuzumab. In triple negative tumors, a polychemotherapy regimen that contains platinum can be used.

In adjuvant (postoperative) chemotherapy, polychemotherapy regimens contain Anthracycline, Cyclophosphamide, 5-Fluorouracil and Taxane (Paclitaxel or Taxotere). In HER2 positive tumors, monoclonal antibodies (trastuzumab and pertuzumab) are associated for 12 months. Capecitabine or T-DM1 can be used for 6 months as an adjuvant after neoadjuvant therapy if there has been no complete pathological response.

In palliative chemotherapy of metastatic disease, all these drugs can be used, in addition to other monoclonal antibodies and immunotherapy. Criteria will be based on the patient's general status, extent of disease and response to treatment.

How to manage hair loss during chemotherapy?

The side effect most feared by women during chemotherapy is undoubtedly hair loss, which directly compromises female vanity. Some cancer treatments will cause you to lose your hair, but it will grow back.

In some cases, the woman is short of hair, but not completely lost. Some women lose hair from their eyebrows, eyelashes, genital region and other parts of the body. The amount of hair you will lose will depend on the chemotherapy drugs you use, the amount and for how long.

What can you do?

• Think about cutting your hair short before it starts falling out.

• Choose a wig before starting treatment or right at the start of treatment if you want it to match the color and texture of your hair.

• Wear a nice hat, turban or scarf instead of a wig.

• Wear sunscreen to protect your head and scalp and wear a hat in cold weather to maintain your body temperature.

. One treatment has been shown to be effective in preventing, at least in some cases, this side effect from happening. It is preventive therapy with a cold thermal cap, which is applied during chemotherapy sessions, reducing blood flow to the scalp and protecting it during treatment


                                                                   thermal cap

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Americas Medical City

Barra da Tijuca

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