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Expert advice on chemotherapy from the National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families.

Q."Does the decision about what kind of surgery to have affect whether I need chemotherapy?"

A. Chemotherapy is not recommended for most women with early stage breast cancer. If chemotherapy is recommended, it can improve survival and decrease the risk of breast cancer recurrence. There are several different kinds of chemotherapy, and it is sometimes used in combination with tamoxifen. Chemotherapy is usually given after surgery, but there are exceptions. For example, a woman with Stage III breast cancer may undergo chemotherapy before surgery to shrink a tumor so that she can undergo breast-conserving surgery.