WASHINGTON (AP) -- Many women should consider taking a combination of chemotherapy drugs after surgery for localized breast cancer because the additional treatment improves long-term survival, a panel of experts said Friday.
Three to six months of treatment with two or more chemotherapy drugs is optimal, and can benefit even women whose cancer has not spread to their lymph nodes, concluded the panel, convened by the National Institutes of Health.
Another top recommendation: Most women whose tumors may be fueled by estrogen should receive hormonal treatment, typically by taking the drug tamoxifen for five years, not just one or two years, the panel said.
The main treatment for localized breast cancer -- a tumor not yet believed to have spread to other organs -- is surgery to remove either the tumor alone or the cancerous breast. But many women also undergo post-surgery treatment, called "adjuvant therapy," that helps kill remaining cancer cells floating in the body.
Each case of breast cancer is different, so doctors must tailor post-surgery treatment.
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