This section explains the different drugs that are available to fight secondary breast cancer.
There are three main types of anticancer drug that you might receive as part of your treatment. These are:
- Chemotherapies, which kill any cells that are growing, including cancer cells
- Hormone therapies, which can stop the growth of cancers that are sensitive to hormones
- Biological therapies, which can target and kill specific types of cancer cell
Which of these treatments is best for you will depend on the characteristics of your cancer cells and which treatments you have had before (if any).
Cancers with receptors for oestrogen (also known as hormone positive or ER+ cancers) are often treated first with a hormone therapy.
Your oncologist will recommend the anticancer treatments for you that are most likely to:
- Stop your cancer growing
- Relieve your symptoms
- Improve your quality of life
- Extend your life
- Have fewest side effects, or have more manageable side effects
Your oncologist will discuss potential treatment options with you. They will explain the risks and benefits of each drug, so you can plan your treatment together. It is common to have a sequence of different treatments for secondary breast cancer.
You will receive each drug for as long as it works well. At the point when your cancer begins to grow again despite treatment, your oncologist will recommend swapping to a different drug.
Click on the type of breast cancer you have in the tabs below to see a summary of the anticancer drugs that might be suitable for you.
If you don’t know which type of breast cancer you have, you can check this with your oncologist, clinical nurse specialist or another member of your treatment team. You can also browse through, but be aware that not all treatments may be suitable for you.
My cancer is:
Watch Julie share her experience of being on anti-cancer drugs, specifically Kadcyla:
Information last reviewed: January 2017
Next review due: October 2018
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