How is chemotherapy given for breast cancer?

Chemotherapy drugs are given intravenously (directly into the vein) or orally (by mouth). Once the drugs enter the bloodstream, they are delivered to all parts of the body to reach cancer cells that may have spread beyond the breast. As a result, chemotherapy is considered a systemic form of breast cancer treatment.

Chemotherapy is given in cycles of treatment followed by a brief recovery period. When given after surgery, the entire chemotherapy treatment generally lasts three to six months, depending on the type of drugs given. When chemotherapy is being used to treat breast cancer that has spread to other organs, chemotherapy may be given for a longer period of time (years).

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy