The functionality behind the Chemotherapy in combating cancer is in two ways. The medicines administered in chemotherapy destroy the cancer cells. Or secondly they may stop their multiplication, and thus prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells inside the body. Cancer cells spread inside the body by destroying and damaging healthy cells.
Cancer cells are aggressive in nature and have a tendency to multiply and spread throughout the body very fast. Thus they infect the healthy cells very quickly, dividing uncontrollably in irregular order. Due to their aggressive multiplication, at times they get separated from the original growth site and are able to move to other parts of the body. The BENEFIT of chemotherapy is that it not only damages and destroys the cancer cells at the original growth site but also it weakens and destroys the cells at other parts of the body.
Usually the growth of normal cells is quite a uniform multiplication in a regular growth pattern, but some of the cells of particularly cells in nails, bone marrow, the mouth, digestive tract and cells in hair follicles divide very quickly. During the course of treatment, chemotherapy may along with destroying the rapidly dividing cancer cells, might also harm these normal cells of the body with an attribute of rapid division. This is the most common chemotherapy side effect.
To damage and destroy breast cancer cells in - advanced stage cancer. This will destroy as much cells as possible.
To prevent recurrence of breast cancer in - early-stage invasive breast cancer. In it chemotherapy destroys the cancer cells left over post surgery.
In the course of treatment of early-stage breast cancer, when it is given to the patient, I is mostly administered post surgery, immediately after recovery. This is thus given extra to or in addition to surgical intervention (which is the primary treatment) and thus it is termed by doctors as "adjuvant" chemotherapy.
It is termed as "neoadjuvant" chemotherapy in some other cases, where this therapy is administered prior to surgery. The primary purpose of giving it before the primary surgical intervention is to shrink the cancer cells, thus leaving less tissue for removal in surgery.
Predominantly, two or three different chemotherapy medicines are administered to the patient in combination, meaning that they are given at the same time. When given in combination, it is known as chemotherapy regimens.
Recurrence risk is lowered in early-stage breast cancer by giving standard chemotherapy regimens to the patient.
Cancer has been seen to shrink or disappear in about 30-60% of people, in advanced breast cancer, with chemotherapy regimen.
One has to understand that every cancer patient responds differently to chemotherapy.