Neoadjuvant therapy is systemic therapy given BEFORE surgery. There are two types of neoadjuvant therapy: chemotherapy and endocrine (anti-estrogen) therapy. The purpose of preoperative therapy is to potenially downstage the tumor, optimize surgical outcomes, and reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence.
When diagnosed with breast cancer, understandably the first reaction is: get the cancer out. There are times, however, when initiating systemic therapy (chemotherapy or endocrine therapy) may actually be a more appropriate initial treatment. It is very important to know the options. Neoadjuvant therapy may be best.