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Fluorouracil, epirubicin, cyclophosphamide and docetaxel (FEC-T)

Find out what FEC-T is, how you have it and other important information about taking FEC-T for breast cancer.

What it is

FEC-T is the name of a combination of chemotherapy drugs used to treat breast cancer. It is made up of the drugs:

  • F - Fluorouracil (5FU)
  • E- Epirubicin
  • C - Cyclophosphamide
  • T - Docetaxel (Taxotere)

How it works

FEC-T combination destroys quickly dividing cells such as cancer cells.

How you have FEC-T

You have the drugs of FEC-T into the blood stream (intravenously). You have them through a thin tube, short tube (cannula) put into a vein in your arm each time you have treatment. Or you have them through a central line, a portacath or a PICC line. These are long, plastic tubes that gives the drugs directly into a large vein in your chest. You have the tube put in before or during your course of treatment. It stays in place as long as you need it. 

When you have it

You have FEC-T every 3 weeks. Each 3 week period is called a cycle of treatment. You can have up to 8 of cycles of treatment. 

For the first 3 or 4 cycles

You have fluorouracil, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide (FEC) on the first day of the cycle. It takes about 30 minutes to have these 3 drugs. You then have no treatment for almost 3 weeks (20 days). 

For the rest of the cycles

You have docetaxel (T) the same day as FEC. You have docetaxel over an hour. And again you then have no treatment for almost 3 weeks (20 days). 

Tests during treatment

You have blood tests before starting treatment and during your treatment. They check your levels of blood cells and other substances in the blood. They also check how well your liver and kidneys are working.

Side effects

Important information

Other medicines, foods and drink

Cancer drugs can interact with some other medicines and herbal products. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies.

Breastfeeding

Don’t breastfeed during this treatment because the drug may come through in your breast milk.

Pregnancy and contraception

This treatment might harm a baby developing in the womb. It is important not to become pregnant or father a child while you are having treatment and for a few months afterwards. Talk to your doctor or nurse about effective contraception before starting treatment.

Fertility

You may not be able to become pregnant or father a child after treatment with these drugs. Talk to your doctor before starting treatment if you think you may want to have a baby in the future. Men may be able to store sperm before starting treatment. Women may be able to store eggs or ovarian tissue but this is rare.

Treatment for other conditions

Always tell other doctors, nurses, pharmacists or dentists that you’re having this treatment if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.

Immunisations

Don’t have immunisations with live vaccines while you’re having treatment and for at least 6 months afterwards.

In the UK, live vaccines include rubella, mumps, measles, BCG, yellow fever and shingles vaccine (Zostavax).

You can:

  • have other vaccines, but they might not give you as much protection as usual
  • have the flu vaccine
  • be in contact with other people who've had live vaccines as injections

Avoid contact with people who’ve had live vaccines taken by mouth (oral vaccines). This includes the rotavirus vaccine given to babies. The virus is in the baby’s urine for up to 2 weeks and can make you ill. So, avoid changing their nappies for 2 weeks after their vaccination if possible. Or wear disposable gloves and wash your hands well afterwards.

You also need to avoid anyone who has had oral polio or typhoid vaccination recently.

More information about this treatment

For further information about this treatment go to the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) website.

You can report any side effect you have to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) as part of their Yellow Card Scheme.

Information and help

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About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.