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Medications for Breast Cancer

Other names: Breast Cancer, inflammatory; Cancer, Breast; Carcinoma, Ductal; Carcinoma, Lobular; DCIS; Ductal Carcinoma in Situ

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a type of cancer in which certain cells in the breast grow out of control. It occurs when a mutation or abnormal change occurs that upsets how breast cells multiply and divide. There are several different types of breast cancer.

Breasts are made up of lobules that produce milk and ducts that carry the milk to the nipples. These lobules and ducts are surrounded by fatty connective tissue. Most types of breast cancer start off in the ducts or the lobules. Breast cancer can also spread to other parts of the body.

Some women may also develop benign (noncancerous) breast tumors. Benign tumors do not invade other tissues or spread to other parts of the body. They may be left alone or removed if they press on vital structures such as nerves or blood vessels.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer diagnosed – noninvasive means the cancer cells have not spread to other tissues in the breast and are only in the lining of the ducts. Nearly all women diagnosed with DCIS can be cured.

The two most common types of breast cancer are:

  • Invasive ductal carcinoma: cancer cells start off in the ducts but then grow outside the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue. They can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma: cancer cells start off in the lobules but then spread into other tissues close by. They can also spread to other parts of the body.

Other types of cancer include Paget’s disease and inflammatory breast cancer.

What are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

The most common symptom of breast cancer for 90% of women is a new lump or mass in their breast. Lumps may feel hard or soft; tender, painful or painless; irregular or rounded. If you feel a lump of any sort, always get it checked by a health care professional experienced in the diagnosis of breast diseases.

Try not to panic too much. Eight out of ten lumps found turn out not to be cancerous. But it is still important to schedule an appointment with your doctor, just to be sure.

In around 5% of women, breast cancer can cause changes in the skin of the breasts, such as creasing or puckering; dimpling; or a redness, scaliness, or thickening. Some rare breast cancers can give your breast skin an orange peel appearance.

For a very small percentage of women, a change in the appearance of one of their nipples may be their first sign of breast cancer.
Bleeding, or any kind of discharge from the nipple (other than breast milk) could suggest a type of breast cancer that lines the ducts behind the nipples. Other nipple changes include nipple inversion or retraction (turning inward); redness, scaliness or thickening of the skin around the nipple; or nipple pain.

Sometimes breast cancers cells can collect in the lymph nodes and cause swelling in the more superficial nodes of the armpit or neck, long before a lump is large enough to be felt in the breast. Report any sort of swelling - whether it is in your breast, in your armpit, or around your collar bone or neck, to your doctor for further investigation. Breast swelling caused by cancer can still occur even if no distinct lump can be felt.

How is Breast Cancer Treated?

Treatment depends on the type of Breast cancer and if it has spread to other areas of your body. Treatment may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Hormonal treatments
  • Biological therapy.

How can I Prevent Breast Cancer

Over 40% of breast cancers that are diagnosed are self-detected and the National Breast Cancer Foundation recommends you perform a self-examination of your breasts once a month. Always seek further investigation if you ever feel any sort of lump in your breast or breasts.

Mammograms are a type of X-ray that is commonly used for screening. They can detect tiny lumps, as small as 2 millimeters (mm) in size, which is about the size of a pencil tip. You would never be able to feel a lump this small. Most breast cancer tumors cannot be felt until they are at least 22 mm in size, or about the size of a small pea.

In general, the earlier cancer cells are detected, the better the outcome. Very effective treatment is available for all stages of breast cancer; however, outcomes are usually more favorable when the cancer is found at stage 1 or stage 2.

To reduce your chances of developing breast cancer, keep to a healthy weight, exercise daily, sleep well, don't drink alcohol, avoid exposure to chemicals including nicotine, and breastfeed your babies if possible.

Drugs used to treat Breast Cancer

The following list of medications are in some way related to, or used in the treatment of this condition.

Drug name Rating Reviews Activity ? Rx/OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol
anastrozole 5.0 172 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: anastrozole systemic

Brand name:  Arimidex

Drug class: hormones/antineoplastics, aromatase inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Arimidex 5.7 61 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: anastrozole systemic

Drug class: hormones/antineoplastics, aromatase inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

tamoxifen 4.9 65 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: tamoxifen systemic

Brand name:  Soltamox

Drug class: hormones/antineoplastics, selective estrogen receptor modulators

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

letrozole 5.5 105 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: letrozole systemic

Brand name:  Femara

Drug class: hormones/antineoplastics, aromatase inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Femara 6.6 36 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: letrozole systemic

Drug class: hormones/antineoplastics, aromatase inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

exemestane 4.8 75 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: exemestane systemic

Brand name:  Aromasin

Drug class: hormones/antineoplastics, aromatase inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Aromasin 4.5 18 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: exemestane systemic

Drug class: hormones/antineoplastics, aromatase inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Afinitor 4.6 10 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: everolimus systemic

Drug class: mTOR inhibitors, selective immunosuppressants

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

methotrexate Rate Add review
Rx X N X

Generic name: methotrexate systemic

Brand name:  Trexall

Drug class: antimetabolites, antirheumatics, antipsoriatics, other immunosuppressants

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Faslodex 4.5 2 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: fulvestrant systemic

Drug class: hormones/antineoplastics, estrogen receptor antagonists

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Ibrance 5.5 3 reviews
Rx N

Generic name: palbociclib systemic

Drug class: CDK 4/6 inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

everolimus 4.6 11 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: everolimus systemic

Brand name:  Afinitor

Drug class: mTOR inhibitors, selective immunosuppressants

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Verzenio 9.8 4 reviews
Rx N

Generic name: abemaciclib systemic

Drug class: CDK 4/6 inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

fulvestrant 4.5 2 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: fulvestrant systemic

Brand name:  Faslodex

Drug class: hormones/antineoplastics, estrogen receptor antagonists

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

abemaciclib 9.8 4 reviews
Rx N

Generic name: abemaciclib systemic

Brand name:  Verzenio

Drug class: CDK 4/6 inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph

atezolizumab 5.5 2 reviews
Rx N

Generic name: atezolizumab systemic

Brand name:  Tecentriq

Drug class: anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph

palbociclib 5.5 3 reviews
Rx N

Generic name: palbociclib systemic

Brand name:  Ibrance

Drug class: CDK 4/6 inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph

Tecentriq Rate Add review
Rx N

Generic name: atezolizumab systemic

Drug class: anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Herceptin 10 1 review
Rx D N

Generic name: trastuzumab systemic

Drug class: HER2 inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Abraxane 9.7 3 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: paclitaxel protein-bound systemic

Drug class: mitotic inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

Adriamycin 6.3 3 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: doxorubicin systemic

Drug class: antibiotics/antineoplastics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Taxotere 3.4 5 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: docetaxel systemic

Drug class: mitotic inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Xeloda 8.3 3 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: capecitabine systemic

Drug class: antimetabolites

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Trexall Rate Add review
Rx X N X

Generic name: methotrexate systemic

Drug class: antimetabolites, antirheumatics, antipsoriatics, other immunosuppressants

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

cyclophosphamide Rate Add review
Rx D N

Generic name: cyclophosphamide systemic

Drug class: alkylating agents

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

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Legend

Rating For ratings, users were asked how effective they found the medicine while considering positive/adverse effects and ease of use (1 = not effective, 10 = most effective).
Activity Activity is based on recent site visitor activity relative to other medications in the list.
Rx Prescription Only.
OTC Over the Counter.
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over the Counter.
Off-label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
EUA An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to authorize unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in a declared public health emergency when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.
Pregnancy Category
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.