Confused on IF to have chemo done or not

  • 14 replies
  • 462 subscribers
  • 712 views

Hi lovely people 

I'm new here and would like to introduce myself. I am 38 years old and got diagnosed in March.It was a hormonal type just under 3 cm.  Had a lumpectomy done in April which was unsuccessful as the lateral margins didn't come out clear so had another surgery done in May. 
Good new was it was all clear but now Iv just seen my oncologist and she has given me the option of chemo. I had my oncotype dx coming up at 24 which is 1 more than not having the chemo offered. I am really torn between the two if to have the chemo or not. Has anyone been in a similar situation and If so what treatment did you choose xxx

  • Hi Starrrr. Sorry you are in this difficult position. Don't you wish sometimes oncologists would just tell us what's best ?!  They're the experts, not us. 

    I had a lumpectomy a year ago. Grade 2, stage 2, ER/PR positive and HER2 negative. Tumour 24 mm. 2 lymph nodes removed. 

    My Oncotype DX score was 27 - higher than expected, but still borderline. 

    I was 58. My oncologist said that because I was post menopausal, chemotherapy would be of little benefit.  

    You are 38 and presumably pre-menopausal, which changes things - except that your oncologist is giving you the option to choose or refuse chemo. So the benefits are unclear. 

    Before I knew my score, I asked my oncologist what would happen if my result was borderline. She said that was up to me. It depends on individual people's assessment of risk and benefit.

    She has patients with borderline Oncotype DX results who say "I want to have every treatment I can, so that I know I've given myself the best possible chance to get rid of this cancer."  Other patients say "If there's no clear benefit of having chemotherapy, I don't want to have all those poisons in my body." 

    I hope that's helpful. 

  • Hi Starrrr

    Welcome to the forum and I am sorry to hear that you have been diagnosed with breast cancer.  While I haven't been in a similar situation to you as I had to have chemo as there was cancer in the lymph node my surgeon took I noticed that you haven't had any answers yet so I thought I'd reply to you to welcome you to the forum and the online community.

    If I was given the choice whether to have chemo or not I'd go down the chemo route.  Treatments are improving all the time and you can have very few or no side effects and you are given medication to help counteract any side effects you may have.  I won't say chemo is easy but it is doable.

    Wishing you the best of luck with your treatment if you do decide to go for chemo.

    Best wishes

    Daisy53

    Community Champion Badge

  • Hi I was surprised to hear that the Oncologist had said chemo might be no good as you are 58 and post menopausal. 

    I have just turned 70.  I was diagnosed last year when I was living in France and they put me on a chemo regime which was quite fierce , every two weeks of a particular savage chemo and was prepared for how it would affect me - told here in England that it is not used because it is savage - long story short, after two months of chemo in France, the lump which was inoperable as it was large, had disappeared. 

    I transferred back to UK for continued treatment and they continued with the same protocol set by France, which was a further three months of lighter chemo, but they said in January following MRI they were surprised how the lump had disappeared considering its size. 

    The surgeons, Oncologist etc discussed options with me but said that the chemo was my best chance.  I was definitely not in favour of chemo previously and whilst having the treatment I also took natural remedies. But each to their own.  

    Wishing you all well 

  • Yes mine was exactly like urs ER PR positive and Her2 Negative. Thanks for the reply yea i totally get it each to their own. I hope i can decide soon as i need to give my answer to my oncologist in a weeks time xxx

  • Aww thanks for your reply . Yes I just need to decide and I hope I make the right decision. All of my lymph nodes were clear but may be because of my age my oncotype  dx score came up to 24. X

  • Hi Starr. It's very difficult to know what to do for the best, but I think you're doing the right thing by talking about it. 

    I spoke to a Macmillan buddy - someone who'd had a similar diagnosis and treatment about five years before me. She pointed out that we will never know if our decisions are the right ones. If I accept chemotherapy and the cancer returns, was chemo a waste of time or did it delay / reduce the return ? If I accept chemo and cancer never returns, is that because I had chemo, or would it not have returned anyway ? 

    If I don't have chemo and cancer returns, would chemo have prevented it or not ? If I don't have chemo and it doesn't return, shall I just thank my lucky stars ? 

    My buddy said whatever decision I make must be right for me - no one else. And once made, I must not waste time regretting it or wondering if I did the right thing. I accept it and move on with my life. 

    I hope that's helpful. Thinking of you xxx 

  • Yes you are 100% correct that is exactly what I'm thinking that I hope whatever decision I may I should not regret it after. Thank you soo much sounds silly but think this part has been the hardest for me just deciding on what to do xxxx

  • My lymph node was clear, had a nice clear margin,  sent off sample to America, they said give prevention chemo, have had 3 cycles now out of 6,and I'm giving it up, I don't want it, , no one has spoken to me about anything, never even seen my oncologist since beginning,  

  • Dear Starr, it's not silly. It's a really difficult decision to make - at a time when you're probably not feeling your best. 

    Please be gentle with yourself. You're dealing with a lot at the moment. Have you got any little treats planned ? Take care xxx 

  • Dear Trigsgirl, I'm sorry to hear this. Can you talk to someone in your medical team ? I also found the Macmillan Support Line very helpful - both for emotional support and practical advice. 

    I live in Scotland, and we have quite a few Maggie's Centres attached to cancer hospitals. Anyone affected by cancer - families, friends and patients - can drop in and talk to someone, or just have a cup of tea and a biscuit. 

    Is there one near you ? Please look after yourself. Thinking of you xxx