When to stop treatment with all organs affected?

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Question from NyMo: How do you know when to stop treatments? How many organs can be treated at one time if they are all affected?
Answers - Larry Norton, M.D. Anti-cancer medications, because they go into the bloodstream, go in the whole body and treat cancer wherever it's found. Knowing when to stop medication is part of the skill of medical oncology and can't be specified in an individual case except by a skilled doctor. But I do want to make this point: it is not always necessary to treat the cancer continually. For example, I often treat until I have control of metastatic disease and then stop the medications, offering what we call a "chemotherapy holiday." There is evidence that treating intermittently gives just as long a period of disease control as treating continuously, but of course with fewer side effects.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. If you think you would like or need a break in your treatment, work this out with your doctor. You can take a break for holidays, for a special occasion, because you want to travel, or for other reasons.
Larry Norton, M.D. This is an excellent point. Don’t assume your doctor knows how you feel. You have to talk about any special considerations in your life. If you don't provide that information, the doctor may not make the right decisions because such information is an important part of the total care package.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer featured Larry Norton, M.D. and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about managing day-to-day life with metastatic breast cancer.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in October 2007.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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