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What to Know About Combination Therapy for Breast Cancer

You may get more than one kind of treatment for breast cancer. If so, it’s called combination treatment. It’s also called multimodality treatment. To treat breast cancer, you may have more than one of these treatments:

  • Surgery

  • Radiation

  • Chemotherapy

  • Hormone therapy

  • Targeted therapy

For instance, you may have surgery and chemotherapy. Or you may have surgery and radiation.

You may have a treatment before undergoing surgery. If so, that treatment is called neoadjuvant treatment. You may have chemotherapy or hormones as neoadjuvant treatment. These help shrink the tumor so that it is easier to take out.

Or you may have treatment after surgery. This is called adjuvant treatment. Soon after surgery, you may have one of these treatments:

  • Chemotherapy

  • Radiation

  • Hormone therapy

The goal is to kill any hidden cancer cells that remain. Even if there is no sign of cancer, your doctor may still suggest adjuvant treatment. Having it lowers the risk that cancer may come back or spread.

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