Breast Cancer Chemotherapy Worries Worse and Worse? Metronomic chemotherapy with low side effects and quality of life

There are more than 14,000 new breast cancer patients in Taiwan every year. Many women are worried about the pain of mammography, which makes early diagnosis and misses the opportunity to detect and treat cancer. The doctor said that the side effects of breast cancer chemotherapy have been reduced compared with the previous ones.

Elderly people suffering from cancer at the same time, or women who are concerned about the side effects of hair loss, can choose oral chemotherapy to reduce the trouble of traveling to and from the hospital. For patients whose cancer progresses more slowly, “beat chemotherapy” can also be used to maintain the quality of life.

Dr. Hong Zhiqiang from the Department of Breast Oncology at Taichung Veterans General Hospital said that among women who have undergone breast cancer screening, the proportion of women diagnosed with stage zero or stage one breast cancer is relatively high, about 30-40%. But many women do not get screened because they are afraid of the pain caused by mammography,

and are often in stage 2 or above by the time they are diagnosed. In fact, with the progress of modern medical care, equipment has also improved. If you feel uncomfortable during mammography, you can discuss adjustments with the nursing staff. We appeal to females not to be afraid of the pain during the examination, and to do the examination as soon as possible is conducive to the follow-up treatment.

The treatment of stage zero breast cancer is mainly surgery. Dr. Hong Zhiqiang said that common side effects of chemotherapy, such as hair loss, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and low white blood cells, vary from person to person. 

With the advancement of medical treatment, injection or oral administration of chemotherapy can be selected, and now through appropriate adjuvant drugs or health food, the side effects of chemotherapy can be reduced and the chemotherapy process can be made smoother.

Injection treatment needs to be injected intravenously in the chemotherapy room of the hospital; oral chemotherapy is more convenient, and there is no need to go to the hospital to wait for the chemotherapy room of the hospital. 

Dr. Hong Zhiqiang pointed out that doctors usually adjust the dose according to the patient’s age, physical strength, comorbidity, stage and other considerations. The use of injections or oral chemotherapy can be considered, and clinical trials have confirmed that oral chemotherapy and injections are equally effective.

In addition, breast cancer patients’ acceptance of chemotherapy is also a factor considered by physicians. For example, elderly people with cancer are afraid of chemotherapy, or women who are concerned about side effects such as hair loss, can adjust the chemotherapy method according to their needs.

 Dr. Hong Zhiqiang said that the hair loss side effects of oral chemotherapy are less obvious than injections. For patients who are inconvenient to travel to and from the hospital or the elderly, oral chemotherapy can also be used, and patients and their families can discuss the treatment with their physicians.

The current chemotherapy also has the method of “beat chemotherapy”. Dr. Hong Zhiqiang pointed out that the injection chemotherapy usually gives a full dose at one time, and the beat chemotherapy is adjusted according to the patient’s tumor control situation.

If the cancer progresses slowly, it is suitable to use the beat Chemotherapy, such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, can maintain the therapeutic effect and quality of life. It is helpful for the elderly, office workers who need to maintain a working life, or groups with weak family care support.

Dr. Hong Zhiqiang shared the case and pointed out that he once treated a nearly 80-year-old woman with breast cancer with bone metastases. After the treatment effect gradually deteriorated, she was told that she needed to undergo chemotherapy and was initially quite resistant.

After discussing with the doctor, she started the treatment with a low dose for two weeks. , and then slowly adjusted to the standard dose. It has been treated successively for nearly two years, and the quality of life has also been maintained. It is one of the relatively elderly cases in metronomic chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy in breast cancer treatment will be adjusted according to the progression of the disease. Dr. Hong Zhiqiang explained that many people still have cancer cell metastasis after successful surgical treatment. Cancer cells hide in blood vessels, which cannot be treated by surgery or other treatments alone.

Chemotherapy can play an important role in prevention and treatment. Physicians remind that chemotherapy can choose the corresponding treatment method according to the patient’s condition and quality of life, which is beneficial to make the patient’s life longer.

Since the outbreak of the new coronary pneumonia, a considerable number of people are worried about the risk of infection and have reduced the number of visits to hospitals, including breast cancer patients.

 But Dr. Hong Zhiqiang said that delaying treatment will only allow cancer cells to continue to spread. He met a patient who originally had stage II breast cancer. After the outbreak, the patient was interrupted. After 10 months, the patient was found to be in stage III.

 Doctors suggest that patients and doctors should maintain good communication during the epidemic prevention period, choose suitable chemotherapy methods, and continue to return for treatment. During the epidemic prevention period, there is no delay in getting sick.

The earlier breast cancer is detected, the simpler and more effective the treatment will be. Dr. Hong Zhiqiang reminded that women between the ages of 46 and 69 must do a biennial mammography screening, and those with a family history should start it at the age of 40. Don’t be careless. Usually, you should pay attention to whether there is an unknown lump or whether there is blood-colored discharge from the nipple, and be alert.

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