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Early Stage Breast Cancer Patients

gdpawel's picture
Posts: 538
Joined: May 2001

Chemotherapy not needed for some early-stage breast cancer patients

ASSOCIATED PRESS July 16 - Chemotherapy offers no benefit for post-menopausal women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer that has not spread to the lymph nodes, a new study finds. Researchers say in such women, after surgery, the estrogen-blocking drug tamoxifen by itself protects against the disease.
THE FINDING could mean thousands of American women diagnosed each year could avoid the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy. The study also found that for post-menopausal women whose breast cancer was not hormone sensitive, chemotherapy followed by tamoxifen offered the best hope of disease-free survival.

Posts: 44
Joined: Jun 2002

Interesting article. What newspaper was this from? I am curious about the study, especially since in neither case does it address radiation. I will try to track down the actual journal article (have resources into a medical school library).

Posts: 335
Joined: Aug 2000

Hello, As usual, you give good information. Thank you for keeping up with all of us here on the CSN site. I fall into these guidelines, however I received Chemotherapy because of the Her-2/neu factor. I often wish that I had not received the axillary lymph node dissection because the arm still creates some problems for me. Have you read anywhere in your research that the lymph nodes must be removed to prevent the spread of the cancer cells or is a purely diagonistic proceedure. Love to you, Nancy

Posts: 235
Joined: Oct 2001

Hi, that axillary node dissection is strictly diagnostic, as I was told. Now, of course, 3 years later, some do the sentinel node biopsy which is way less invasive. I have had lots of trouble with this site and none with the lumpectomy. I still can't sleep on that side. Sigghh, Hugs, Shirlann

Posts: 335
Joined: Aug 2000

Hi Shirlann, I was told that the axillary lymph node dissection was a diagnostic procedure and that because I have the Her-2/neu factor, I would get chemo whether there were positive nodes or even if there were no positive nodes. Because of that, I often wish that I had left the lymph nodes alone. I too, still have some problems with that arm. One thing that I find does help a great deal, is to do the exercises recommended at the time of the surgery. I got lazy and distracted and stopped doing them and my arm got achy and sore. I have started them again and it is much better. I use a 1lb. weight and I wrap my arm with three layers of stretch bandages before I begin the exercises. I went to a lymphedema clinic and they taught me to wrap the arm. I got 2 different opinions from 2 different surgeon about the underarm nerve that is cut. My first surgeon told me that the underarm would remain numb forever, and the 2nd surgeon told me that the nerve would regrow in about a year. Going into the 3rd year and still numb. Feels so strange to shave that underarm....Thanks for responding. Nancy

Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Note Well!

This only refers to those women who are estrogen positive and have NO NODES INVOLVED. Unfortunately until very recently, most women did not fall into that category and still are in the minority.

But it is an interesting article.

For Georgeann's comment- radiation is done for an entirely different reason - ONLY to prevent a recurrence in the same breast after lumpectomy. My surgeon uses radiation even after mastectomy because he says there is still breast tissue there - and indeed, sometimes- not often - a recurrence will show up at the scar area - nasty old beast that it is!


lizaboy's picture
Posts: 35
Joined: Apr 2002

Interesting article. I seem to match the criteria. I had mastectomy, reconstruction and sentinel node bio done in March[I was diognosed D.C.I.S] I opted for mastectomy as depending on biopsy outcome this meant no chemo or radiotherapy. Fortunately the node was clear as I'm afraid the treatment terrified me more than the cancer.Hope this was the right decision,this article suggests it was.
Thanks Liza.

gdpawel's picture
Posts: 538
Joined: May 2001

Ditto!, for my good freind and neighbor. After watching my wife's troubles, she chose to have a mastectomy only (no lymph nodes involved) with tamoxifen (she is estrogen receptive). But Tamoxifen for up to five years. She needs to have an endometrial biopsy by her first anniversary of her surgery, to establish a base line. While doing research about my wife's treatment side effects, I come across some articles that may help my neighbor. I sometimes post them.

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