Medications for breast cancer are determined by the physician on the basis of the form, staging, hormone sensitivity of breast cancer as well as the patient’s general health and what she prefers.
Different Medications For Breast Cancer
Medications used in this form of treatment are specifically intended for the types of breast cancers with sensitivity to hormones. These are medically termed as progesterone receptor (PR) +ve and estrogen receptor (ER) +ve types of cancer.
Hormone-blocking therapy options like Nolvadex or aromatase inhibitor drugs have an all-rounded effect on the body though usually leading to lesser side-effects as compared to chemotherapy. Hormone-blocking Therapy Options Include:
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERM) Drugs
These medicines obstruct detrimental estrogen inside the breast from affixing onto the ER +ve cancer cells, slackening tumor development and essentially annihilating them. Examples of SERM drugs are Nolvadex and raloxifene that are used to treat cancer among women in their premenopause and postmenopause stage.
Tamoxifen is a drug which obstructs effect of estrogen on regular and malignant cells in the breasts. It is used to treat metastasized breast cancer and for females at elevated risk for the disease and ones who are ailing from Ductal carcinoma in situ.
Side-effects that can be experienced comprise of atrophic vaginitis and hot flushes. However, Nolvadex usage might even augment risk for developing cancer of the endometrium, blood clotting in lung or vein and strokes. An annual pelvic examination is deemed necessary for Nolvadex users.
This medicine is almost at par with Nolvadex in preventing invasive breast cancer recurrence among females in their postmenopause phase who have undergone surgical intervention. Moreover, there is a lesser likelihood of this drug causing cancer of the endometrium as compared to Nolvadex despite not working as effectively as Nolvadex in decreasing the risk for stage 0 of breast cancer.
HER2 Inhibitor Dugs
HER2 (Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2) is a form of protein that is produced superfluously by several breast cancers which facilitate their growth and survival. HER2 blocking drugs include:
It aids in blocking the HER2 protein that triggers death of cancerous cells. Associated side-effects experienced might comprise of rash formations on the skin, harm to cardiovascular system and headache episodes. It is suggested after chemotherapy sessions to make them more effective and after surgical intervention.
A medicine created to hinder the signaling which cancerous cells deploy for attracting novel blood vessels. The resulting dearth of new-fangled vessels needed to transport crucial nutrient forms and oxygen to the malignant cells causes their death.
Likely associated side-effects of using this drug comprise of weariness, oral sore formations, hypertension, headache episodes, cardiovascular and/or kidney harm and delayed reparative process of wounds.
Scientific study results indicate that although the drug seems to slacken breast cancer spread yet it fails in increasing survival rates. Hence, it hasn’t yet received the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) nod for treating breast cancer but it’s off label usage still continues.
This drug is the next-in-line resort when trastuzumab fails to retard cancer progress and has approval for usage when breast cancer has metastasized. Likely side-effects of drug usage comprise of feeling nauseous, puking, weariness, rash formations on skin, oral sores, pains felt in foot and hand areas and watery stools.
Aromatase Inhibitors (AI) Drugs
They are a category of medicines that obstruct and restrict the activity of enzyme which produce estrogen by transforming androgens present in our bodies. These are used in breast cancer treatment as an alternative or subsequent to using SERM drug. Stated otherwise, they are part of the line-of-treatment in case of preliminary, metastasized or recurring form of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer.
Some of the most popularly used medicines include Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole) and Arimidex (anastrozole). Each one of them has been reported to produce side-effects like bowel problems, exhaustion, hot flushes, mild-ranging queasiness and atrophic vaginitis. There is also an augmented risk of thinning bones after half a decade of therapy use among females that began the course with osteopenia condition.
Faslodex (fulvestrant) is a medicine that works in a direct manner to block estrogen access to the tumors which staves their survival. A monthly jab of fulvestrant is usually offered to females in their postmenopause phase among whom other hormone therapy options proved to be ineffective or are contraindicated for using Nolvadex.
Breast cancer therapy usually involves a combination of drugs and how many cycles to be administered to a patient are dependent on the drugs chosen and manner in which they are offered. Prevalently utilized permutations entail drugs Cytoxan, Taxol and Adriamycin PFS taken as a single set or any one or two drugs of this set combined with other drugs.
Feeling nauseous and puking are common experiences cited when being treated for breast cancer. Some drugs aid in controlling and preventing emesis such as glucocorticoids and several other ones.