During chemotherapy, how long does it typically take to learn if the treatment is working for metastatic breast cancer? What kind of results can I expect?

Expert Answers

PaulaRyanMDPhD (Physician - Oncology - Hematology/Oncology (Verified) ) - 02 / 24 / 2012

During chemotherapy we hope to see an improvement in symptoms, if you are having any, within days or weeks of treatment. We expect to see changes on scans (for example, CT scans, X-rays, bone scans) within weeks of beginning treatment. Most often, we would recommend looking at scans within 6-8 weeks after starting chemotherapy. Sometimes the interval is related to how often you have the chemotherapy. For example, if your treatment is every 3 weeks then you may have scans at 6 or 9 weeks and if the chemotherapy is every 4 weeks then you may have scans in 8 or 12 week intervals. If the drug is working then we would expect to see tumors shrinking or staying the same size. If the drug is not working as well as we would like then we may see tumors getting larger or new tumors showing up on the scans.
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