When Chemo doesn't work

Hello, (I'm going to put this on the breast cancer group too)

I had my scan to determine my surgery last Thursday after 7 cycles of chemo. Ok I know I haven't seen the consultants yet but deep down I know the chemo hasn't worked because the tumour  feels almost the same as when I started this journey. I'm also getting the same pain in my breast and under my arm.

I'm trying not to dwell on it. The lady who did my MRI asked me at the end how many cycles of chemo I had done. When I said 7 she was surprised. I said I know, it is still there and nearly as big. She put her hand on mine and smiled. The tumour was 6cm when I started chemo in MArch. When I went to the clinic originally in February it was just 2.5 cm.

I think although I knew it wasn't altering much, the possibility that is true is dawning on me!! Did anyone else have this scenario please? I know treatment isn't over yet, I just want the surgery to happen now. I'm supposed to have another cycle in 1 1/2 weeks and surgery in September. Could they bring it forward if I ask them to?

Hopefully xxx

PS Sorry if I have confused people. I'm a bit heywire and struggling a bit. xx

  • So sorry your worried, I had 2 surgeries then chemo and have just started radiotherapy so I can’t comment but I want you to know I’m thinking of you and hoping that when you see the consultant your news will be better than you imagine.

    stay strong xxxx


  • Thank you xx

    Floss b
  • Hello mimi121,

    I had my MRI results yesterday. They were a bit disappointing for the doctors as well as me. The tumour has reduced in length by a cm from 5.6cm to 4.7cm. This is what I was feeling when I wrote the question above. They did say that bits had died but they had hoped for more. The shock to me was when they said that the cancer had gone from some of the lymph nodes. I was only told it was in one node possibly two, so to be told many was hard. It also means that it is still in some. I see the surgeon on Monday to arrange surgery; have my chemo on Wednesday; and then the oncologist will be in touch after the surgery to discuss the radiotherapy. Even though it is what I thought, I'm still feeling a bit shell shocked. Thank you xx

    Floss b
  • Hiya Floss, 

    I had a 4cm TNBC tumour removed as part of mastectomy in March with clear margins, some cancer in 1 lymph node but surgeon was happy. Oncology decided to start chemo as belt and braces. I had 8 pactlitaxel weekly before it was stopped due to side effects. Had a 2 week break then had one EC when I was really ill. 

    Two days before EC started I had a chest CT and all clear (there had been a lung nodule in the March they were worried about but no change). 

    Oncology rang me because I wanted to stop EC, explained I was tired, sick and so breathless. She ordered a new CT of my lungs to check for a blood clot. No blood clot so felt relieved. 

    She rang me Friday to tell me the second CT, just three weeks after the first showed some chest nodules and I needed a biopsy. Been today and spoken to Breast Care nurse. I have 3 lymph nodes with a tumour in, a 4cm tumour on my chest wall and my lungs look like someone has emptied confetti in them. Got a CT abdomen and pelvis tomorrow and she will tell me the situation on Friday in full, not curable but maybe some treatment to slow it down. 

    I am in shock. If I could rewind to March when I was diagnosed I would have kept my breast, kept my hair and enjoyed whatever life I had left. 

    I would ask to speak to your surgeon and say you want to bring surgery forward, but you need to know what the plan is for afterward. 

    Sending love xxx

    G x
  • Oh Gistaline, what a journey for you and I can understand you being shocked!!

    Ive already had my chemo - 4 FEC and 4 T - Docetaxel. I had the last one yesterday so one more lot of side effects to go through! Today I look like a beef tomato moon face and the taste is changing. I have had a reduced dose of the T and that has helped immensely.

    My surgeon is quite up beat. I saw him Monday and my husband was allowed in too!  He said visually on the MRI the lymph nodes are free but he wants to remove them to look under the microscope. I am having a bi-lateral mastectomy too, all in 4-6 weeks time. He is going to take the lot. I don't want reconstruction. Once I'm healed enough radiotherapy follows on my chest wall. We are looking at another five months he says. I'm also having the Bisphosphanates for bone density to combat osteoporosis and iron for anemia. 

    I presume they will do another body scan to check for elsewhere as they did when I started back in February/March.

    I hope and pray (if that is ok with you) that something happens for you quickly and that somehow you find a little bit of peace in all this. I liken myself to a Weeble - remember those little toys? Weebles wobble but they don't fall down! maybe you are too young for them?  Sometimes the wobble is big and takes a while to bob back up, but it does and you will too.

    Keep going and bob back up soon,

    Alison xx

    Floss b