At The Strathfield Breast Centre we have three medical oncologists, Prof Philip Beale, Dr Annabel Goodwin and Dr Belinda Kiley.. These doctors will tailor a regime specifically for you. When deciding on which chemotherapy medicines would be best for you, you and your doctor will take into account the stage and other characteristics of the cancer, such as hormone-receptor status and HER2 status. Your menopausal status and any other treatments you’ve had will also be considered.

You may be referred to a medical oncologist at The Strathfield Breast Centre for advice regarding systemic treatment. Referral may occur before or after your operation or for advice at any time during your follow-up. Hormonal therapy and chemotherapy are systemic treatments for breast cancer. One or both of these treatments may be recommended after surgery for breast cancer.

Chemotherapy treatment uses drugs to weaken and destroy cancer cells in the body, including cells at the original cancer site and any cancer cells that may have spread to another part of the body. Chemotherapy, often shortened to just “chemo,” is a systemic therapy, which means it affects the whole body by going through the bloodstream. There are many chemotherapeutic drugs which are improving and evolving continuously… In many cases, a combination of two or more drugs will be used as chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer.

Both hormonal therapy and chemotherapy are used to treat:

  • early-stage invasive breast cancer to get rid of any cancer cells that may be left behind after surgery and to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back
  • advanced-stage breast cancer to destroy or damage the cancer cells as much as possible

In addition to chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, there is Herceptin (trastuzumab) which is a monoclonal antibody and has been around for a number of years but its use was restricted to patients with advanced breast cancer. That all changed on 1st October 2006 when it was listed on the PBS and made available as adjuvant therapy to prevent the cancer returning.

Of course, there are a couple of strings attached. To be eligible to receive this drug:

  • A special gene amplification process must return a positive HER2 status
  • Patients must have no existing heart dysfunction, or vulnerability to heart damage

Herceptin®, as an adjuvant therapy will be used after surgery in combination with other chemotherapeutic regimes. It will be given for a maximum of 12 months.

At The Strathfield Breast Centre we have two medical oncologists, Prof Philip Beale and Dr Annabel Goodwin. These doctors will tailor a regime specifically for you. When deciding on which chemotherapy medicines would be best for you, you and your doctor will take into account the stage and other characteristics of the cancer, such as hormone-receptor status and HER2 status. Your menopausal status and any other treatments you’ve had will also be considered.

You may choose to have your chemotherapy at Strathfield Private Hospital, or Concord Repatriation General Hospital. At each of these centres, there will be specialist nurses who will talk to you regarding the effects and side effects of chemotherapy, and give you your treatment. You will also have the opportunity to meet other patients undergoing similar treatment – lasting friendships are commonly formed in our “chemo” suites.

At The Strathfield Breast Centre, we have access to local, national and international clinical breast cancer trials. Some of the trials our patients have participated in include:

  • BEATRICE: A European study looking at Avastin (Bevacizumab) Adjuvant Therapy in Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
  • Efficacy & Safety of Ginko Bilboba for Cognitive Function & Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Adjuvant Chemotherapy – a local study designed by our medical oncologists in conjunction with academic staff from the University of Sydney. The study will examine how ginko interacts with chemotherapy as well as determining if ginko decreases cognitive impairment and fatigue in breast cancer patients.

For more information regarding available trials, it is suggested that you visit: http://www.australiancancertrials.gov.au/. The site contains a huge amount of information so it is suggested that you limit your search by selecting “breast” from the drop down menu, and use words such as “early” to further refine the information that will be presented to you.

We can also refer you to various support programs including the” Look Good – Feel Good” program and the “Encore” program, both aiming to enhance your physical well-being and appearance during your treatment.

The Strathfield Breast Centre is fortunate to have amongst its Team, a cancer geneticist who is able provide information to individuals and their family where there is concern about the family history of cancer. If there is an increased risk of cancer for family members, strategies to reduce the chance of cancer developing and methods of detecting it early are discussed. An appropriate cancer screening program is advised. Sometimes genetic testing is possible to help assess the risk of cancer more accurately. We can arrange for genetic counselling at either Concord Repatriation General Hospital or Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.