The UCSF-John Muir Health Jean and Ken Hofmann Cancer Center at the Behring Pavilion is now open.  LEARN MORE >

Systemic Treatments

Depending on the nature of your breast cancer your physician may recommend a “systemic treatment” – chemotherapy, biologic therapy, or hormonal treatment – in order to target the cancer. As with our other treatment options, the goal is treat your cancer with the most advanced and effective techniques while minimizing the overall impact on your quality of life. 

John Muir Health uses the latest and most effective systemic therapy options.

We make sure that newly approved drugs are made available to our patients, and you have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials of new treatments if you and your physician decide that might be a worthwhile option. 


Administered on an outpatient basis before or after surgery, or in combination with radiation oncology, chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to attack the cancer cells. In some cases of advanced breast cancer, chemotherapy may be the main treatment approach.

Biologic Therapy

John Muir Health offers leading edge minimally invasive biotherapy options, which uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer or diminish the side effects of treatment. We may use a monoclonal antibody (MOAB) such as Herceptin to target specific proteins found on some cancer cells.

Hormonal Treatment

Some forms of breast cancer are caused by the presence of estrogen or progesterone receptors. Hormonal treatment prevents estrogen from stimulating the growth of cancer cells by eliminating estrogen production or blocking its effects on target organs.

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