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Chemotherapy for breast cancer

The most advanced treatments as well as support for your emotional and psychological wellbeing, all under one roof.

What is chemotherapy for breast cancer?

Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer drugs that stop cancer from spreading by blocking the mechanisms that cells use to multiply and grow. There are different drugs, and they work in different ways, although they all target cells that grow quickly – like cancer cells. However, they also affect other areas where cells grow and divide, like the digestive system, hair follicles and ovaries. That’s what can cause chemotherapy side effects.

If you have your chemotherapy at one of our GenesisCare medical oncology centres, our highly trained chemotherapy nurses will arrange a pre-treatment assessment appointment and show you around our dedicated treatment suites.

If you have your chemotherapy at a partner hospital, their expert teams will support you. We’ll make sure your care at GenesisCare continues to run smoothly alongside it.

Your treatment plan may involve receiving one chemotherapy drug or a combination of drugs. You may also need regular blood tests to assess your overall health and monitor how your body tolerates chemotherapy during your treatment.

Most chemotherapy for breast cancer is administered intravenously (into a vein).

How long does chemotherapy take for breast cancer?

How often you have chemotherapy, how it’s given, the dose you receive and how long your course lasts will depend on your type of cancer, the stage of cancer, and the drugs you’re having.

Chemotherapy is typically given as several treatment sessions with rest periods in between each one. This is known as a chemotherapy cycle. We’ll give your treatment as an outpatient, so you’ll be able to go home after each session.

Side effects of chemotherapy for breast cancer

Most common side effects caused by chemotherapy are temporary, but you might be affected by them for a while after your treatment ends. We’ll work closely with you to limit their impact as much as possible.

You can find details about common side effects of chemotherapy here.

If you decide to have chemotherapy at GenesisCare, your oncologist or one of our expert nurses will explain the side effects your treatment is likely to cause and be there with you every step of the way, with advice on managing any side effects. We also offer complementary wellbeing therapies and access to support groups that are proven to help people with cancer and aim to improve your quality of life during your treatment and beyond.

Chemotherapy for breast cancer and early menopause

Some chemotherapy drugs can affect your fertility and, in some women, lead to early menopause by preventing your ovaries from making oestrogen. This can cause menopause-like symptoms, such as vaginal dryness and hot flushes.

Sometimes, your ovaries will function normally again once your treatment has finished, depending on your age and the type of chemotherapy you had. Your consultant will discuss all the possible side effects, including early menopause, with you and possible ways to preserve your fertility.

Early menopause can also lead to bone thinning. To monitor your bone health and prevent problems such as osteoporosis, you should have regular follow-ups with your doctor and bone density tests with treatment if necessary.

Who is it for?

Will I need chemotherapy?

The best form of treatment for you will depend on many factors, like the type of cancer you have or your cancer stage. Your consultant will always discuss your options with you and help guide you to the best treatment choices for you.

Will I need hormone therapy?

You may have a treatment called hormone therapy as well as or instead of chemotherapy. Hormone therapy targets the hormones that some cancers need to grow. It’s also called endocrine therapy and is a common treatment for breast cancers.

Learn more about hormone therapy for breast cancer, its benefits, and its side effects.

Questions to help guide your treatment


Sometimes getting a lot of new information can be overwhelming, and you may not know the best questions to ask. To help you, we have put together a list of questions you can ask your consultant or care team.

Contact us today

To find out more about chemotherapy for breast cancer, including private cancer treatment cost and payment options or to book an appointment, make an enquiry today.
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