Neoadjuvant Therapy is defined as treatment given to a patient to reduce tumor size before future operations or treatment procedures. such as radiation therapy. In some case, tumor size interferes with organs and prevents complete removal of a tumor. Once the tumor has shrunk in size, it can be operated on effectively.

What is Cancer?

Cancer is the presence of rapidly dividing cells that grow quickly and can spread to other parts of the body. These cells frequently collect to form a tumor or concentrated collection of cells. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are over 100 different types of cancer that can invade the organs of the body. Cancer can be contained within a tumor site, or it can become invasive by launching into other body organs. The term “metastasis” means the cancer has spread from the initial tumor site to a secondary site. Invasive cancer means that the rapidly dividing cancer cells have migrated to invade a nearby organ.

Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy

In some cases, a patient presents with a tumor that far exceeds a reasonable size for an immediate operation.For example, some breast cancers invade the lobules of the breast, forming quite large tumors that require major tissue removal. Some oncologists choose to target the tumor initially with chemotherapy to reduce the tumor size. Reducing the tumor size makes surgery less invasive. Neoadjuvant therapy is commonly used as an initial step to treat inflammatory breast cancer.


The most obvious benefit of neoadjuvant chemotherapy lies in the reduction of tumor size. In the case of breast cancer, neoadjuvant chemotherapy can sometimes result in a lumpectomy rather than a full mastectomy. Reduction of the tumor mass and subsequently removal of less breast tissue is called breast-conservation surgery. This type of treatment plan considers both attacking the tumor aggressively and limiting necessary reconstructive surgery. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy also shows results immediately with a prescribed treatment plan. Doctors monitor tumor size closely, and evidence is immediate available of positive results with tumor reduction.

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Clean Margins

Doctors also use neoadjuvant chemotherapy to address large tumors that bump into or encroach on nearby organs or tissues. When a doctor removes a tumor, he wants to allow a clean margin around the circumference of the tumor, which can be quite difficult, especially with large tumors. To obtain a clean margin, a surgeon must include some extra tissue beyond the tumor area to ensure removal of the entire tumor. Large tumors require so much removal of tissue that can be problematic for a doctor to ensure complete removal. By reducing tumor size, neoadjuvant therapy allows better success in achieving clean margins.

Adjuvant Chemotherapy

Most people think of chemotherapy as a cancer treatment given after an operation to remove a tumor. This standard therapy is called adjuvant therapy that means your doctor can employ chemotherapy, radiation or hormonal therapy to prevent the further spread of your cancer. he main difference between neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatments lies in the purpose of the therapy. The chemotherapy drugs might be the same but the intent is not. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy treats the tumor to shrink it while adjuvant chemotherapy treats the body after tumor removal. Adjuvant chemotherapy directly addresses the incidence of recurrence by attacking errant cancer cells within the body that might have spread during tumor growth.

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