CSN Login
Members Online: 4

To Chemo OR NOT to Chemo

Gabbie99
Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2010

This is my very first post...diagnosed with BC in October, (you know the month when all those pink ribbons are constantly in your face as a reminder) In December had a lumpectomy and sentinal node biopsy that showed NOT clear margins and a less than one mm tumor in lymph node. Just two weeks ago had a mastectomy and all margins are clear of cancer- removed 20 lymph nodes and also NO cancer. My oncologist has recommended tomoxifen therapy and still thinks I should do the taxotere and cytoxin chemo because of the micro tumor in my first lymph node. I was determined that I would only go through the chemo if there was any more cancer in my lymph nodes, but now am scared that if a few years down the road I have cancer somewhere else I will always blame it on not taking the chemo..anyone else been down this road and chose not to do chemo?

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

And I'm sorry you had to find us. There are many reasons to pursue or not to pursue chemotherapy. Of course in the end it's a personal decision, but you want to be as informed as you can when you make that decision. That said, I would definitely go for a second opinion on your treatment. Factors to take into consideration would be tumor size, stage, node involvement, hormone receptor status, BRCA status, your age, physical condition, and probaly much more I'm forgetting now. Since your oncologist has recommended Tamoxifen, I'm assuming you are ER and/or PR positive. It's good you have that in your arsenal. Personally I think that one positive node is a good reason to do chemo. It means that the cancer has traveled a bit and the chemo is there to wipe out any microscopic cancer cells in your system. It's an insurance policy. No one will say that chemo is a party, but it is doable. Many, many women here have done Cytoxin and Taxotere. I did them both along with adrimycin. I had no positive nodes, but I was hormone receptor negative, which made my cancer very aggressive. I wish you luck in your decision. A second or even third opinion may help you achieve a comfort level with whatever you end up doing. Again, welcome. The ladies here will help you every step of the way. You're going to be fine.

Mimi

bah2
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2010

Hi Mimi. I just read your reply to someone else and saw that you are harmone recptor negative. I am too. I am what is called triple negative as my HER2 is also negative. I would love to chat with you or just share email. I have had a very hard time finding someone to talk to who is also hormone recptor negative. It is more rare and I think treated a little different than other breast cancers. Please respond if you would be willing to share with me. Thank you, Barb

MyTurnNow's picture
MyTurnNow
Posts: 2694
Joined: Aug 2009

Gabbie, welcome to the group that no one wants to join. Like Mimi said, it is a very personal decision and one that only you can make. I think a second opinion and possibly even a third opinion would be a good idea if you are that undecided. I had a microscopic cell located in my sentinel node and cytoxan and taxotere were recommended. I elected to do the chemo just because it made sense to me. I am ER/PR positive and HER2 negative. My cancer was invasive ductal carcinoma. I will also be taking Arimidex for 5 years. There are many variables that go into the decision and no 2 people are alike. Take your time and get the opinions and information you need and then make your decision. Best of luck to you. Continue to post and let us know your decision. Good luck!!

cindycflynn's picture
cindycflynn
Posts: 1133
Joined: Oct 2009

Welcome to this site, although I'm very sorry for the reason you have to be here.

The decision about whether to do chemo is not easy, and as Mimi said, it's a very personal decision.

I was dx last September and had a lumpectomy on October 12th. I was very fortunate that there was no cancer in my lymph nodes, but based on the results of the Oncotype DX test my doctor ordered, I decided to to chemo anyway. Even though for me the chemo is only supposed to increase my chances by 4%, that was enough of a difference for me. I also took into account the fact that I'm relatively young (just turned 51) and in good shape to withstand the chemo. I felt that if I skipped it now and had a later recurrence I might have more problems with side effects. I just finished my 4th and final round of Cytoxan and Taxotere 2 days ago, and am very happy to have this step behind me.

Chemo is no cakewalk, but I have been pretty luck to have minimal side effects. No nausea at all (they give great preventive meds for that), no pain to speak of, just some constipation which I've learned how to manage, a really yucky taste in my mouth (but it does get better in between treatments), and feeling pretty tired toward the end, and now getting hot flashed from being thrown into menopause.

I agree with Mimi's advise to get as informed as possible, and this is a great place to start. You need to feel comfortable with your decision either way.

Come back ofter and we will do our best to guide you through your journey.

(((HUGZ)))
Cindy

Sher43009's picture
Sher43009
Posts: 602
Joined: Nov 2009

Welcome Gabbie, I agree with the others and get another opinion. It will still your mind and give you more info to base your decision on. I'm IDC, ER/PR+ and HER2+ so I had to have chemo even though I have no node envolement. Good luck with making up your mind.
Sher

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3604
Joined: May 2009

Wishing you good luck in whatever you decide! Keep us posted.

Lex♥

TraciInLA's picture
TraciInLA
Posts: 1885
Joined: Jul 2009

I chose to do chemo for exactly the reason you mention -- I couldn't live with myself if 5, 10, 20 years down the road the cancer came back, and I was left wondering, what if I'd done chemo? I wanted to be able to say I'd done everything I could.

I had tiny tumors in both breasts (4 total, none larger than 2 mm) -- I had bilateral lumpectomies and sentinel node biopsies this past June, no lymph node involvement. I did 4 rounds of Cytoxan/Taxotere, 33 radiation treatments, and am now taking Tamoxifen.

The other factor for me was age. I'm 41, and my tumors were ER+/PR+ -- I have a lot of estrogen-filled years ahead of me before menopause, so felt it was even more important to hit this with everything I could.

Like the other here, I can reassure you not to be terrified of chemo. They have such good drugs for side effects now -- as Mimi said, it's not a party (woo-hoo! :-), but you don't have to suffer horribly anymore.

Please post here as often as you like -- this group of women and men are the best companions for this journey you'll find.

Traci

MAJW
Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

Gabbie,
Not much more I can add.......I had a lumpectomy, CLEAN CLEAR MARGINS and NO lymph node involvement..........I was advised to have the Taxotere/Cytoxan chemo cocktail.....as many others here have said, it's a very personal decision, but like most said, I wanted no regrets down the road, if it came back.......I wanted everything and anything they could throw at this beast! Chemo is no day at the beach, but I must say, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be or like the horror stories about from chemo in years past....Never once was sick or even nauseated.........all side effects are manageable with medication. Had 33 radiation treatments following chemo, I am 3 months out now from all treatment and I feel really good....still some tiredness from the radiation, but again, very manageable........
I wish you well......
Peace be with you in making your decision

jbug
Posts: 285
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Gabbie...just want to add my welcome. This is a great place to seek advice and support.

God Bless....
Julie

DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3888
Joined: Jun 2009

Just welcoming you to this site Gabbie! I didn't need chemo, so, I can't comment on your question. Good luck to you!

RE's picture
RE
Posts: 4643
Joined: Feb 2004

Hello Gabbie welcome to the site, glad you found us. I had no involvement in any of my lymphnodes the first time around. I had a mass in my left breast so I had a lumpectomy, did chemo and did radiation therapy (6 weeks). Eight months later it was back and now it was in my chest wall and my sentinel lymph node, had I not had chemo the first time I am pretty sure I would not have survived. Once cancer is in your lymph nodes in now has a path to anywhere in your body it wishes to attach itself too. I cannot tell you what you should do it is a very personal decision. I can tell you that i have had cancer 3 times and have had lots of chemo and rads, it is not fun but it is doable. No matter what you decide we will be here to support you.

RE

Gabbie99
Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2010

Thanks everyone for the comments...you all had chemo! Isn't there anyone who elects to not do it? I have always felt like the most positive, luckiest person in the world. It's hard to find anything lucky about this and I keep thinking maybe I am in denial that this is really that bad.... It's just really hard to roll the dice on the decision of chemo. I am scared to do it and scared not to.. there's no "good" choice. Feel like crying all the time and the nerves in my arm and armpit hurt sooo bad. It's been two weeks since my mastectomy. The first week went great..positive attitude, pathology report clear, all good. Everything fell apart yesterday and I can't seem to stop bursting into tears. No one has seen me like this except my husband..he is great, thank goodness. Everyone has told me they admire how strong and positive I am and do not want them to know any different. I think two things happened that started this melt down... I saw the entire scar for the first time and I thought that because my pathology report was so good I would be told that chemo was not a recommendation in my case, instead the oncologist said he still felt it would increase my chances that it would not come back by 4-5%. I feel so selfish about all of this crying when I hear about what so many have gone through that is worse.

cindycflynn's picture
cindycflynn
Posts: 1133
Joined: Oct 2009

Don't feel bad about feeling bad - none of this is easy, and we've all had our moments/days/weeks of just feeling like we can't do this. But then we somehow just do it anyway.

I know how difficult your decision is, and I so wish you weren't even faced with having to make it.

The positive attitude you've carried with you in your life WILL help you now, even if it gets a little tarnished or cracked along the way. You are a warrior and a survivor and you will find reserves of strength you never knew you had.

(((BIG HUGZZZ)))
Cindy

dash4
Posts: 304
Joined: Dec 2005

Gabbie,
I feel as guilty and selfish and sad as you do --thankyou for posting your thoughts. I am so confused at this moment and I am grateful too and feeling blessed that 2/16 lumpectomy(margins clear) and sentinel node biopsy(5 nodes - negative).
I told all yesterday how blessed I feel and today I am so "sad". I lost my husband to cancer on 9/25 and not sure who I want to share my thoughts with and so I am writing this as I cry...I feel like such a mess and so guilty for feeling that way since I have so much to be thankful for. I too am waiting to see about chemo and I know I will have radiation..oh well, I will pull it together-just felt like sharing with you.
Keeping you in my prayers,
Mary Kay

aztec45's picture
aztec45
Posts: 757
Joined: Jul 2009

I am sorry you feel so sad. I get that way sometimes, too. Sometimes I do not know why I feel that way. Sometimes you just get sad and you should not feel guilty about it. If you ever need to get some stuff off your chest, just let me know. I am a pretty good listener.

P

Skeezie's picture
Skeezie
Posts: 586
Joined: Aug 2009

Hey, you have bc and that gives you every reason to burst into tears at the drop of a hat, or without even a "drop" of a hat. I probably cried everyday. But I also took Ativan and that really helped and I would shed some tears but no complete meltdowns. Don't be ashamed by your emotions. It's a good release too.

I also chose chemo. I had absolutely clear nodes too. When it was recommended I didn't think twice about it. I wanted to do everything possible to get the Beast gone and not come back. I didn't want to have to say down the road, I should of had the chemo. I also had Cytoxin/Taxotere. It wasn't fun, BUT IT'S OVER NOW and I am so glad to have done it. I've done everything possible to prevent reacurence.

It's not easy looking at scars, I was more upset about the big depression left in my breast after the second biopsy than I was after the simple mastecomy. Why? Because my pathology report said no cancel cells found in breast tissue.

Get a second opinion if you need to but don't refuse chemo because you're afraid of it...everyone is afraid, it's normal and we are all here to help you. For me it was worth going thru the chemo and feeling better safe than sorry.

Good luck with your decision, let us know how you are feeling. For me, one of the worst parts was the feeling of having lost control of my life during all of this. The dx is the worst part, the waiting is horrible and the fear is horrible.

Hugs, Judy :-)

RE's picture
RE
Posts: 4643
Joined: Feb 2004

Gabbie this is your decision and we all are holding you cyberly through. I wasn't going to go here but you asked the 1000 dollar question "doesn't anyone not have chemo". I personally know of two ladies who decided to have mastectomies only and forgo chemo. It did come back they went for chemo and it was too late. I also know of one gentleman who went to Mexico for spa type treatments rather than chemo and he is no longer here either. I am sure there are those who choose not to have chemo and survive I just do not know them.

Wishing you better days,

RE

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

Wishing you the best in your decision to have chemo or not!

Hugs, Angie

kelliemak's picture
kelliemak
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

what they don't tell us is that the breasts carry and produce a large amount of estrogen.  When we have a mastectomy, hot flashes and hormones go crazy.  I found that out AFTER when I started with the melt downs.  Don't be to hard on yourself for the emotional part.  You may also go through the change just from having a mastectomy...things they do not tell you that I have found women to report on many cancer sites.

kelliemak's picture
kelliemak
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

This makes me feel that chemo didn't help you at all.  I know some very strong health professionals that say having chemo can also cause cancer as when our body is depleted of good cells, then the cancer cells can also hybernate until just the time chemo is done and continue to grow as our defenses are down.  So this makes me wonder if I should have it.  I just had double mastectomy, clear lymph nodes and only 1.4 cm cancer.  Very non aggressive cancer.  They have said because of these facts I may or may not need chemo.  I feel chemo can be so damaging to our bodies that I may decide not to take it.  After all the cancer they would be treating is gone anyhow, with the breasts.  So I may be wrong but I think even if they tell me to take it I am going to refuse it and do all the natural things I can do to get healthier.  Just my thoughts.

ppurdin's picture
ppurdin
Posts: 970
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi,I had to make this decision also.And what you said about feeling guilty if I got Cancer again if I did not take the Chemo.So I did take the Chemo.Good Luck to you. (Pat).

CarrWilson's picture
CarrWilson
Posts: 112
Joined: Feb 2010

My best friend had a lumpectomy 7 years ago, chemo, radiation, the whole nine yards. The cancer came back 11/2009 this time in the other breast. So off she goes and has to have a bilateral mastectomy. She said absolutely, positively, no possible way was she going to have chemo. Her OncotypeDX said her chances were 18%. She felt those odds were good enough for her. She just finished radiation, and is looking forward to reconstruction in March. You wanted to hear if someone chose no chemo and she did. I am not sure what will happen down the road, but it was her choice with the information she had at the time. FYI, she is 56 years old.

As for me, I am seeing my Onc tommorow and will go with his recommendations, including chemo if needed. I am like the others and want to do everything possible to beat this.

The hardest part is there are no clear answers!

Best of Luck no matter what your decision is.

-Carrie

cathyp's picture
cathyp
Posts: 366
Joined: Dec 2009

My situation is so different than all of you on this board as I was treated for Hodgkins Lymphoma twice prior to my BC dx. 18 yrs later, I was dx'd w/IDC, stage 1. My only real option was a double mastectomy. Chemo would have increased my odds by 2%. I have many late effects from the rads and chemo, I didn't want to further damage my lungs and heart for 2%. Radiation was not an option I could consider because of the previous rads 20 yrs ago. After 2 mos of tamoxifen, I presented w/gyno issues and stopped that. I may have had a TIA this summer so I really shouldn't consider restarting tamoxifen. (My oncotype score is 8.) I don't know if it is better to have your options and arsenal wide open or have no real options like me. I can only wish you peace of mind with whatever you choose.
Cathy

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

Good luck in whatever you decide. I guess I would just want to be sure that I did everything possible to prevent the cancer from ever coming back. I wouldn't want to someday say, what if. It is your decision and I know you will make the right one for you.

Hugs, Megan

WJGardner_Dec2009
Posts: 50
Joined: Feb 2010

Wow, they took all twenty nodes? I had a lumpectomy (Jan 5, 2010)and 14 nodes removed 3 nodes had cancer one being the sentinel. Did they inject you with blue dye prior to surgery? I had my first chemo last week. So far i am doing well. I think the meds they had me take prior to and during chemo helped. They have come a long way with treatment. So were you given the option by your doctor to have chemo or not?

Gabbie99
Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2010

Thanks to everyone for the posts - I have pulled up so many clinical studies, (even paid for some) and so far am still leaning towards saying NO to chemo. I have heard from people who had chemo and cancer came back anyway. I had a lumpectomy, (several margins not clear) and sentinal node biopsy, (<.1mm tumor) first and then elected a mastectomy and more lymph node removal. WJ- they took an additional 20 nodes with no more evidence of cancer during the second surgery. I am surprised by your question "So you were given the option by your doctor to have chemo or not?" My oncologist made it clear from the beginning that I am the boss. He can give recommendations for standards of treatment and in the end NO doctor can tell us which will have to deal with cancer again and which of us will not. Of course - if my cancer was aggressive and more lymph nodes contained cancer there would be no doubt that I would go for chemo treatment....but as it is I am just really tired of surgery and want to heal without the hassle of chemo..especially when considering the 2-4% over the 85% chance that I already have that it will not come back. This is the perfect example of why so much more needs to go into research of this disease. They have been so aggressive in finding all of the little tumors early- but they still can't tell you which are going to cause problems and which will not. A lot of women go through lots of needless suffering just in case.

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

Some people who have chemo have their cancers return. Others do not. You are right to look at studies rather than on anecdotal evidence alone. Have you had the Oncotype test yet? That may make things even more clear. Can I ask where you are getting the 85% no recurrence figure and the 2-4% chemo benefit rate? Is that based on population statistics? Also, consider that while a lot of women might go through needless suffering, a lot of women have had their lives saved by chemotherapy treatment.

Rague
Posts: 3411
Joined: Aug 2009

We all have to make our own decisions but I could not face my Husband, Son or G-daughter IF I hadn't done EVERYTHING I could to lessen the chance of a reoccurance. In my case, my cancer was/is a very aggressive one with a rather high reoccurance rate. Even if I had less aggressive cancer with a low rate of reoccurance, I would still have taken the most aggressive treatment plan that my Drs. recommended. It's my life - the only one I have - and I will fight for it in every way that is offered/available to me.

Certainly, there is no guarantee of anything in life. It is hard going through treament but it only last for a time. At the beginning it seems like it is so long but it is surprising how fast it goes. Aug 26th, first chemo it seemed like it would never end but now I only have 2 more weeks of rads after 4 A/C each 2 weeks apart, mastectomy, 12 weekly
Taxol and now have finished 3 weeks of rads. Reading % stats is great but it comes down to each individual, your personal stats are either 0% or 100% - you will have a reoccurance or you will not have a reocurance.

Of course your Dr can not force you to have chemo (or any treatment for anything for that matter) nor can they be forced to give you a treament. We go to them for their knowledge and expertise.

Thoughts and prayers!

dctimmons's picture
dctimmons
Posts: 10
Joined: Feb 2010

and you're fortunate that you DO have a decision to make.

I so relate to your situation, having just had two surgeries (lumpectomory plus axillary node on Jan 25, then re-excision to get all margins clean on Feb 12. It's tiring, everything hurts and you just want it all to STOP!

However, unlike you, 4 of the 8 nodes removed were cancerous. I went into surgery, expecting - worst case - to be a Stage I and woke up a Stage IIIA, simply because of those darn lymph nodes.

I start chemo Feb 26, which is NOT AT ALL according to my plans. I should be flying cross-country to be at my sister's wedding in AZ this weekend. I cried many tears about that because it's so unfair to have to miss her wedding. But cancer's not fair and I want to live, which means I'll do ANYTHING to increase my odds of survival, and I'll do it with no delays.

One last thought: I know chemo's not fun and that there will be miserable moments for me in the weeks ahead, but no one dies from chemo.

Best of luck to you!

sparky72156
Posts: 61
Joined: Dec 2009

Actually, people CAN and DO die from the effects of chemo.

kelliemak's picture
kelliemak
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

I agree after much natural research on chemo and radiation, they not only can help but also can cause cancer as well.  I had radiation for a 1 cm cancer in my left breast...11 years later another cancer in the same breast same area..new cancer not related to the old...no cells were missed it was a new cancer...I am convinced after my double mastectomy last month that it was caused by my radiation years ago.  On top of that they do not tell you that your body area radiated does not ever heal as well atfterwards.  I got massive infection in my radiated mastectomy side and the other side healed fine.  Still battling healing slowly on the 11 year old radiated side.  I am refusing chemo or radiation for my own health.  

Youcandothis
Posts: 79
Joined: Mar 2010

I'm 66, dx 18 mo ago, had lumpectomy, 14 nodes removed, micro rumors in 2 sentinals but nothing further thank the Lord. Clear margins, est+. Did chemo/radiation and now on arimidex. Always was active, continued workouts thru all treatment, think it helped a lot. Would get reaction 2 days after treatment but do ok in between. Used acupuncture 2x/wk. For me radiation was worse than chemo the fatigue was overpowering. I'll be going back to competing in triathlons this summer, 2 years after dx. I want every day I can get, every chance I can get. It's definitely a personal decision, but there's a lot of support out there. It's too important an issue to let fear be the decider. Good luck!

kelliemak's picture
kelliemak
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

I am deciding to not have chemo.  I had breast cancer 1.4 cm and non agressive non lymph node invovled.  I can't understand why chemo would benefit me.  Both breasts off so the cancer they would be treating and have tested in the oncotyping is gone, so why have chemo for something that is not there anymore.  Chemo is also very damaging to the body and it is proven that chemo and radiation can also cause cancer.  so I am deciding to not put my body through the abuse of chemo when I don't believe it is necessary.  My oncologist said the only way cancer cells can get to other parts of the body from the breasts is through the lymph nodes so if they are clear then why would I treat a cancer that is not there.  I hate to say it, but there is profit to be made on chemo and medical treatment as well.  So that is my thoughts.

sunny_girl
Posts: 33
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Gabbie,

I chose not to have chemo and I certainly support your decision either way. I was diagnosed with IDC 3/08, one day after my 42nd birthday. I had lumpectomy with reexcision for a nearly 4cm cancer, ultimately with clear margins. I had micro-mets to the sentinal node, and no other nodes removed. Despite the "standard of care" recommending chemo (based on size), I chose not to have it. My canver was Grade 1 (Ki-67 was <1%), so my cancer was very slow growing. Chemo works much better on aggressive cancer. My Onco-Type score was 12 (8% risk of recurrence w/tamoxifen) - and if I read the chart correctly, I'd have a statistically higher chance of recurrence with chemo than without. My more controvertial decision was to not take Tamoxifen either. From my research, it appears that ~2/3 of women with breast cancer are cured by the surgery alone. The other treatments are done just in case you aren't one of them. The risks from chemo and Tamoxifen outweighed the benefits in my opinion for me (not necessarily for others). I may very well not be cured, and time will tell, but I don't believe chemo or tamoxifen would have made me healthier, and I won't regret my informed decisions.

That being said, I have a dear friend who was recently diagnosed with UPSC, a rare and very aggressive form of endometrial cancer (possibly associated with Tamoxifen). After reseaching her cancer, I plainly told her I thought she had no option but to take chemo, and I would take it too if I had UPSC. She had her 4th treatment yesterday.

Best of luck to you.

Gabbie99
Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2010

Your post made gave me a real boost today. Really had made the decision not to do chemotherapy treatment and just wanted to hear from one person that made the same choice with a similar diagnosis. I too do not feel that I will regret my decision- no matter what. I have so much more knowledge from doing the research and am confident that my decision is informed and intelligent. I am still leaning towards the Tamoxifen and also personally know someone that developed a uterine problem when taking the drug. Fortunately for her they discovered the problem and it was relieved when she stopped Tomoxifen. Thanks for taking the time to post here. You are my positive thought for the day.

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3294
Joined: Oct 2009

Glad you made your decision. This site is so helpful in so many ways. Good luck!

Debby

sunny_girl
Posts: 33
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Gabbie,

I'm glad my story helped you feel better about your decision. It is hard enough to get a cancer diagnosis, but then having to immediately make such important decisions is daunting. You have to become an expert on something you previously knew nothing about. I'm a researcher by profession, so I went into overdrive reading everything I could find -- but even so it was a tough decision. I had second opinions for my pathology and a second oncologist consult. But ultimately you have to listen to your inner voice. If you did your research, understand your cancer, talked to your doctors, and you feel good about your decision, then it is absolutely the right thing for you to do.

Best luck with everything.

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

Good luck to you Gabbie! I am sure that you feel better to finally make your decision.

Megan

susie09's picture
susie09
Posts: 2933
Joined: Jul 2009

Glad that the posts made you feel better. The women here can do that! Good luck to you!

kelliemak's picture
kelliemak
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

thank you for your post.  I have been battling that decision and I am not going to take chemo.  I did double mastectomy, clear nodes, 1.4 cm non aggressive cancer.  I just can't see taking chemo for a cancer that I believe has been removed.  With the risks and damage chemo does to our bodies I am opting out as well.  I may be wrong but the number of people I see go through chemo and thier cancer comes back...I don't see it would be worth taking unless you had severe or inoperable cancer.  Hopefully I'[m choosing correctly for me.  :)

 

Eil4186's picture
Eil4186
Posts: 967
Joined: Dec 2007

My lymphnodes were clear, but my tumor was invasive and about 1.5cm. Even though cancer cells are not present in the nodes, there is still the possibility that some could have made it to a blood vessel. I had 8 rounds of chemotherapy, rads, and am now on tamoxifen.

I feel comforted knowing that we did everything possible to prevent a recurrence in the future. You must do what is comfortable for you. If you truly trust your docs, then I would go with thier recommdation. Good luck, and please keep us updated.

Gabbie99
Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2010

I have decided to not decide until after receiving a second opinion. didn't realize how hard this was weighing on me until I set up a second opinion appointment. Going to University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center on March 19th and feel like a weight has been lifted. Of course, in the end I will still have to make the decision- but I will feel more informed.

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

Glad you are getting a 2nd opinion Gabbie. Good luck and let us know what the oncologist says.

Balentine's picture
Balentine
Posts: 393
Joined: Feb 2010

Dear Gabbie,
Did you ask your doctor for percentages? They should have told you that by doing the chemo it would give you a certain percentage of recurrence compared to not taking the chemo. I also asks my surgeon and oncologist their advice and opinion. By doing chemo it is giving me an extra 9% chance that the cancer will not reoccur and from everyone I have talked to in the support networks and doctors, they said no question...that I should do it. My age is also a factor...I am 49 so longevity is a factor. If I were 60 or 70 I may have chosen not to do it. With the chemo and tamoxifen I will have a 92% success rate. I have Invasive ductal carcinoma 2.2cm lump, had mastectomy 1/19. I start my chemo on 3/15 for 4 treatments. Taxotere and cytoxan. In the end....as everyone has said...it is your decision but I felt like you did...that if I don't do it and in 5-10 years it returns how would I feel?? Pray about it. I know you will make the right decision :)
Lorrie

Rague
Posts: 3411
Joined: Aug 2009

I was 63 yrs, 1 month and 13 days young when I was diagnosed and never was there a thought of not doing all I could do with help of modern medicine. As I have/had IBC the odds of it coming back are rather high. If 'it' comes back in a year, 5 years or 10 years, as long as I am at least relatively healthy otherwise, I will fight as hard as I have fought/am fighting now. If I take after 1 Grandmother and 3 Great Grandmothers I have another healthy and active 30+ years - so I intend to live every one of those years that I can and remain active as they did - if it takes fighting and the miracles of modern medicine - I'll do whatever it takes.

To me it's not a matter of the % dealing with the populace - for me it's either 0% or 100% - I will either have a reoccurance or I won't - I won't have a 25% of it back or a 75% back - it either doesn't come back or it does for me so it'a 0% or 100%.

But, of course, we all have to make our own decisions.

waffle8
Posts: 234
Joined: Mar 2010

I am in the process of trying to decide about my treatment...My doctor told me because I am in the "grey" area that those percentages were not available..... She did tell me that if I chose to have chemo it would be same type and length as yours....My head is spinning from reading all these blogs..It is so over whelming....Hope you are feeling well after your first treament....

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

Good luck in whatever you decide!

Hugs, Angie

PattyC12
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2012

Lorrie
Your situation sounds so much like mine. Would like a friend to talk too via e-mail or phone. If you would like to contact me let me know and I will forward you my e-mail. I am new to bc. Getting ready to start treatment. Not sure yet how this blog stuff works yet. God Bless.

sbmly53
Posts: 1498
Joined: Jan 2010

I, too, waffled about chemo. I did not want it. Especially the port. But, I knew in my heart that I would do it. However, my Oncotype dx number was 4, and I opted out of chemo. I'm 56 yrs old and I worry almost every day that I made the right choice, but it was my decision.

Take care,

Sue

waffle8
Posts: 234
Joined: Mar 2010

My onco dx score is 20...I have decided not to decide and see another oncologist.. Basically just putting it off...There are so many factors with bc it seems like every story is diff. but basically I hear a lot of just be comfortable with your own personal decision...Thanks

Babette

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2015 © Cancer Survivors Network