High-Dose Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

Bone Marrow Transplantation
Bone marrow is the sponge-like material found inside bones that produces blood cells. Autologous bone marrow transplantation is used in breast cancer treatment. In this procedure, some of a patient's healthy bone marrow is removed with a needle before treatment begins. The bone marrow is then frozen and stored while the patient is treated with high-dose chemotherapy. Several days after the treatment ends and the drugs are gone from the body, the healthy bone marrow is given back to the patient through an IV. The healthy bone marrow can then begin to produce blood cells that the patient needs to survive. Peripheral blood stem-cells and bone marrow transplantation may be used together as part of high-dose chemotherapy.

Outcomes With High-Dose Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

It hasn't been proven yet whether high-dose chemotherapy for breast cancer is better than standard chemotherapy or which breast cancer patients need this treatment. It is best to have high-dose chemotherapy performed at an established transplant center or medical institution conducting a clinical trial. Some health insurance plans pay for some of the costs of peripheral blood stem-cell or bone marrow transplantation.

Risks With High-Dose Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

There are major risks involved with high-dose chemotherapy for breast cancer. Talk with your doctor about possible complications and severe side effects of high-dose chemotherapy, and whether this would be an appropriate treatment for your type and stage of breast cancer.
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