Standard Treatments for MBC
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network is "an alliance of leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education." Their published NCCN Guidelines for Patients is a great source to read on the latest recommended treatments for Stage IV disease. It is 68 pages long, but you can do not need to read the whole thing in one sitting and some sections will not apply to you, based on your breast cancer subtype. Here is a link to the latest NCCN GUIDELINES for STAGE IV.
We are grateful for input from breast cancer advocate Musa Mayer and www.advancedBC.org for the rest of this section on treatment options.
Types of Standard Treatments:
- Cytotoxic chemotherapy - Cytotoxic (cell killing) chemotherapy drugs are poisons that disrupt cancer cell functions, usually while a cell is dividing.
- Hormonal treatments target breast cancers that grow in the presence of estrogen (and sometimes progesterone), and are used only for tumors that are ER+ and/or PR+
- Targeted therapies or biologics target specific genes that make proteins that stimulate cell growth (oncogenes) and may only work if the tumor overexpresses certain proteins.
- Other common medications include intravenous bisphosphonates for bone metastases and biological response modifiers that offer growth-factor support for patients undergoing chemotherapy.
- the drug pronunciation applet for the scientific name. (Impress your oncologist!)
- history of FDA approval of the drug
- available clinical trials still investigating different uses of the drug