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How many chemotherapy sessions does my father need?

Q: My father is 68 years old. He was diagnosed with breast cancer (right breast duct infiltrating carcinoma). He underwent radical surgery. One of the lymph nodes were involved and hence chemotherapy was suggested. Four cycles of FAC regime have been completed. He is undergoing the trauma of chemotherapy. How is the number of cycles of chemotherapy determined? Are more cycles better? Should we specifically look for any long term side effects of this medicine? Please advise.

A:There are several chemotherapy protocols for treatment of breast cancer each with a fixed number of chemotherapy cycles. There is no evidence that more cycles than prescribed in each are better. There are no serious long term side affects of chemotherapy except in very rare cases and you need not worry about them. You should ask your doctor about the ER/PgR status of the tumour that was removed and as to whether your father is being treated accordingly.

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