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chemo before lumpectomy

ladiired1's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2012

Hello I am new here and I was diagnosed with Breast cancer on Sept 20. I am now in the deciding what treatment to do phase. My surgeon and the rest of the breast cancer board agree that I am an excellent candidate for chemotherapy before lumpectomy in order to try and shrink the tumor so the cosmetic appearance of the breast is easier to retain. I was just wanting to get some feedback on folks who have gone this route and how they felt about the end results. Also wanted to talk to someone who went the lumpectomy route first then radiation/chemo. I think I am leaning towards the chemo first but just wanted to see if i could get some input from someone who is farther along the road than I am.

I have invasive ductal carcinoma in the left breast and the mass is located on the right side of the breast in between the areola and the sternum.


2Floridiansisters's picture
Posts: 382
Joined: May 2010

I am sorry to hear you've been diagnosed with breast cancer, all the members here are really helpful and will do their best to ease your fears.

I was diagnosed a little over 2 years ago with Invasive Lobular in my right breast. It was believed to be 4.5 centimeters at the time so I was started on Cytoxin and Taxetere (sp) to see if it would shrink it, it worked!!!!!!! I ended up having a lumpectomy and my breasts appear to look like all is normal, I was big breasted and still am. I am doing fine today and I have lost 22 pounds in the last 4 months due to being diagnosed recently with type 2 diabetes. Good luck to you, you'll get through all of this.

mamolady's picture
Posts: 796
Joined: May 2011

I had chemo first, not for breast conservation, but my oncologist wanted to see that the tumors responded to chemo. They did! The radiologist had made the same suggestion as a breast conserving strategy because I was only 47. I just opted for the bilateral mastectomy as a way to never have to deal with a recurrence in the breast. My understanding is that it really doesn't change the prognosis.


DebbyM's picture
Posts: 3293
Joined: Oct 2009

I didn't have chemo Jean, but, I did have a lumpectomy, then rads. A mastectomy wasn't even brought up for me as my tumor was small and my breast surgeon assured me that I would have good results, which I do.

Good luck in your decision,


Posts: 3660
Joined: Aug 2009

Some of us have to have neoadjuvant chemo (pre-surgery) so for us it is not an option - just as a lumpectomy is not an option either. IBC (Inflammatory Breast Cancer) does not give those options.

My TX plan was a bit different than many have. I did 4 DD A/C, followed in 2 weeks by mast. which was followed in 3 weeks by 12 weekly Taxol and a week later starting 25 rads. From what I read it seems that most do the 2 different chemo before surgery.

For me, A/C was not bad at all - no pain from the Neulasta shots either. Taxol was nasty though - I existedeither on the couch or in bed those 12 weeks. I never had any nausea at all. (I've been told rather or not you had morning sickness can sometimes be a predictor - I had none)

Remember, we are each unique and how our bodies react to TX is different. Just as our cancers are different with different TX protocol and prognosis.

Winyan - The Power Within


AngieD's picture
Posts: 504
Joined: Sep 2011

Jean, I also had IDC. Mine was triple negative. My local oncologist and surgeon recommended chemo, lumpectomy, then radiation. A consultation with another BC specialist at a large university cancer center agreed. The advantages for that is two-fold. One is to shrink the tumor so the lumpectomy results look better. But the most important one is to see if the chemo is effective against that particular cancer in that particular body. They put a clip in before starting chemo so they can tell where the center of the tumor is/was. I started treatment the first of the year. I had 4 rounds of Adriamycin and Cytoxan 2 weeks apart and then 12 weeks of weekly Taxol. The tumor disappeared, so it was great to know the chemo had worked on it and any wayward cells that could have escaped the tumor. Then the lumpectomy (clear margins and 3 clear nodes) and radiation followed. I finished radiation Aug 27. I am amazed now at how well the lumpectomy incisions have healed and how even the breasts look. And the radiation burns have also pretty much all healed uneventfully. So, I was very happy with that treatment protocol. It's not easy, but it is definitely doable!

Good luck in deciding what feels right for you and getting it all done!


Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2012

Hi, I'm at home recuperating now from my partial mastectomy (lumpectomy). My situation ended a differently from those I have read in this forum. When I found my cancer, it was 2 cm (Stage 1), no lymph node involvement from the views on the sonogram. After consultation with an initial surgeon, I saw another oncologist and surgeon who suggested neoadjuvant chemo before surgery. After 4 cylces of Adrimycin and Cytoxan, my tumor grew. My surgery was done after my insistence and at the time of the surgery my tumor had grown to 4.6 cm and I had 3 positive lymph nodes. I don't really know(nor does my doctors) why my treatment was not as effective as all the others I have read about. There has been some discrepancy about my cancer type. It was first diagnosed ER-,PR+,HER-, but since the tumor grew the surgeon will have it tested for type. The surgeon thinks maybe the tumor was responding and then grew resistance. However, after all of that, I'm thankful the tumor was removed with clear margins, although I had lymph nodes removed which were positive. My surgeon says I will need Taxol once I heal, however, I have not met with my oncologist for his recommendation. I will see him in a couple of weeks. I do know that I have radiation treatment coming up. I believe the best thing in my case is to find out exactly what type of cancer I'm dealing with, then it should be determined what type of additional chemo is needed. It's so true that everyone is different. Having chemo upfront can be effective, but not in all cases. Wish you the best! :-)

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