28 years old.. Should I have chemo with 5% improvement in outlook

Hi

My oncologist has left it up to me to decide if want chemo… I am 28 years old and have no children. I had a 12mm, grade 2 lump removed (had a mastecomy and DIEP flap reconstruction) with no nodes involved.
Really unsure what to do and wondered if anyone out there can give me any advise!

Cheers

Yasemin

xx

You should talk to them about possibly having some eggs frozen for IVF if you do want children.

I’m 33, I had no nodes involved either but the chemo gave me a 12% improvement so I went for it. I’m glad I did but it’s a tough call. It wasn’t as bad as I thought but it’s no walk in the park either (ironically I did do a lot waking in parks though as I didn’t have the energy to plod up mountains this summer while on chemo).

Certainly talk to them about IVF though if you want kids.

Hope this helps.

Angie

Hi!

As you are so young maybe you should seriously consider chemo - you have a lot of years ahead of you! My onc told me that chemo would give me a 2.4% increased chance and I decided not to have it - but I am 64 which is a very different situation from yourself. I’m sure lots of other people will come on here and give you advice.

Hi

I was 30 when diagnosed and told a mastectomy and taoxifen was all the treatment I needed I was never offered chemo, I was relieved at the time as the thought of chemo was pretty scary, but now Im 37 and stage IV, I often think if Id had chemo on initial diagnosis then I wouldnt be where I am now.

Think of it as belt and braces to protect your future health, as Angie says you should discuss freezing eggs etc.

We,re all different and this disease presents so differently from case to case, Im sure you’ll make the decision thats right for you

Good luck to you

Sue xx

Hi Yasemin

Im also 28 and starting chemo next week. Im nervous of course but in my own mind (I have never asked for a percentage) I will do eveything possible now to try to ensure the best possible outcome. I want to throw everything I can at this. Of course it is every individuals choice and every case is different- but have a really hard think about it

Yvonne xx

My oncologist made the same point as redders did actually. 4 months of chemo could equal another 40+ years of life, in the end that was the biggest thing for me if I could endure 1 month of chemo I could potentially get a whole decade back in return, that seemed like a no brainer to me and I’m sure it was the right call as my last round of chemo was just over 6 weeks ago and the hairs growing back and I’m still standing and actually I have some good memories of this summer despite all of that to deal with so don’t reject it out of fear alone as you might be surprised at how well you can cope.

Good luck next week Yvonne. Get lots of entertainment to keep you going, things that make you laugh really do help.

Hope this helps

Angie

Hello All!
Thanks so much for your comments… It really helps hearing stories regarding other peoples experiences.

My oncologist has advised me against freezing eggs as my cancer was oestrogen receptor postive and would be very worried if I then started to pump myself full of hormones!

Sue, I wish you all the best with your treatment and hope things work out ok.

Yvonne, Good luck with your chemo and keep me posted on how you are getting on…

Yaseminxx

Your onc is rihgt. Even I am oestrogen negative my onc wont havest my egg either. I am 31 - just finished 2 circles of kimo. It is harder for young people as we normally fit and jumping around all the time ( at least myself ) but as said, it will give your extra insurance. The unknown and the fear is the worst i think. But everyone s different. I find it is useful to get enough information before my kimo to know what to expect.

take care

Hiya
It is certainly a difficult decision to make. I was also grade 2, tumor 2.1 cm. I was advised to have chemo because of my age, 31 but they also said it was my decision. I decided to go for it. I was anxious as I also have no children and didn’t want the decision of wether to have children or not taken from me. My oncologist recommended, I have vinoralbine and epirubicen. He has treated a number of younger people with this combination who have then gone on to have children-so it might be worth asking about if this is an issue. Good luck.

just want to corroborate with what others have said. I’m older than you at 37 but even before i got my histology results, my onc was preparing me for Chemo. As it turned out i had lymph node involvement which necessitated chemo anyway. Relevant to you though was the suggestion that chemo is always pushed for younger patients in my trust, like others have said, to give us more years of good health. I appreciate how difficult the decision may be. I felt happy to go along with my consultant and BCN as i felt so confident in the care i was getting, especially being part of a trial. Sometimes i find choices a bit frustrating as it puts onus on us to do all the reading and researching which is tiring for some of us and stressful. I actively ignored the urge to gen up when i was diagnosed as i felt the overload of info isn’t good for me. I wish you well in this decision… i wonder what the onc would be suggesting if it was his 30 year old partner pre-kids.??? just a thought.

xxxx carmel

Hi Yasemin,

This is such a difficult one - I had exactly the same dx as you - though I was lobular, and you haven’t said what yours is.

I was 38 at dx and given the same stats. I chose not to have it, but for a few reasons. My husband’s first wife died of secondary bc and I didn’t want his children, who now live with me, going through that again, or my husband, or my kids. I had no lymph spread, no vascular spread, so I couldn’t see what the chemo would do.

However, you are VERY young and from what I’ve learnt on these forums, BC can be very aggressive with such young women. If I was you with this dx, and not me, I would have it.

I’ve read a lot of posts of ladies from the beginning of their treatment to the end and while they were very (understandably so) scared, they got through it and came out the other end. They are then very encouraging to women who are just starting this horrible journey.

Even though I chose not to have it, in your case I would say go for it.

Sally xx

Hello Yasemin

I’m a lot older than you - 62 - and my oncologist also gave me the choice and said it would give me 3% - 4% more chance. I decided to have it - I felt that I wanted to try everything possible to get rid of the cancer.

Chemo isn’t nice but we all get through it somehow and you’ll find lots of advice and support on this site.

Good luck with your decision.
Anthi x

Hi Yasemin

Breast Cancer Care have published a factsheet called ‘Fertility issues and breast cancer’ which you may find useful, you can read it via the following link. You are also welcome to call our helpline or use the ‘Ask the Nurse’ service if you would like to talk through your concerns:

breastcancercare.org.uk/docs/fertility_issues_feb_06_0.pdf

Our Helpline number is 0808 800 6000 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm Sat 9am-2pm and the ‘Ask the Nurse’ service is available via the homepage under ‘Support for you’

Best wishes
Lucy

Hi like you I was 29 on DX now 30, just had Mastectomy (on Saturday) and due to start Chemo in the next few weeks. I am triple Neg, and have PCOS aswell. Been told I do not have time to freeze eggs as I have a high chance I won’t have many anyway, and they want to concentrate on the Cancer, which I have to agree with, but I have had over 10 years to accept the fact that I will never have children so this was not a huge shock for me. I was told Chemo would give me another 15% chance of reoccurance (30% without) so I will do what has to be done. Every stage of this is horrible but somehow we get through it, Chemo is the icing on the cake and when its over its over! Thats how I think of it anyway!

Hi

I was Dx in April this year …Had chemo and now almost through my Rads… I’m so glad i had chemo as i wont to try anything to stop this crappy thing from ever comming back …So i say go for it and throw every thing you can at it …but every one is different …up to you hun …but if i was you i would .

chemo is hard and do able …and i would rather go through that for 4 and a half months and no that i have tryed than not try at all …
good luck in what you decide
sal

I don’t know yet if i shall have to have chemo, but i do know that if they tell me they think i should, and it will up my chances, even by a small %, then i shall have it. My parents both died of cancers and mum in particular, left her symptoms too late to really do anything about it.She died on her 53rd birthday, 24 years ago, and i still mourn her loss, but I am also still angry with her that she didn’t seek help (sheer embarrassment, she didn’t want internal examinations…she had ovarian cancer)…I wouldn’t want to leave my family with the thought that i hadn’t done everything i could to stay with them.Of course, i hope it won’t come to chemo, but if it does, i’m in the queue with my sleeve rolled up and my arm out, a totally personal response, and i know that I will be scared, but i will do it, for me and for them. Good luck with whatever you choose to do xx

Hi

I am new to the site, so not too clued up on abbreviations yet.

Also in the same position, my Onc has left this huge decision up to me. Diagnosed 13 Oct, Full Right Mastectomy 28th Oct and ax clearance. Results were better than expected. Grade 2, ER positive, no nodes etc. Was just about to go on IVF waiting list when I was diagnosed. At age 37 and only married 6 months, we were both hoping to start a family asap.
Yesterday I was told that currently my odds are 82% of non recurrence, Have been told chemo MIGHT (a 1 in 20 chance) increase that by by 4%, but may have no effect at all.
Surprisingly, my Onc has offered to look into harvesting eggs prior to chemo in a bid to help should I be able to continue with IVF in future. This did confuse me further as I was under the same impression that more hormones were a bad thing, but apparently there is no evidence to support this. Isnt it strange that Onc’s can have a different opinion?

My head is spinning with thoughts, dreams and anxiety. All that said, i shall most likely opt for chemo and if by some miracle, I can still have a family, so be it. It’s the common sense approach I feel, and the wishes of my husband and parents too.

I hope you can come to a decision, best of luck xxx

My oncologist gave me the choice, I was grade 1 with 1 lymph node involved, 1 cm tumour, ER+ PR+, I’m 36. He said it would give me a 5 - 10 % 10 year survival chance, I am now halfway through 6 FEC and it is very hard going.

I saw a fertility expert at St. Mary’s in Manchester and she said that on current evidence if you are going to get BC then IV seems to bring the age at which you would get it forward; also that there was a significant risk with egg harvesting. My surgeon had said prior to that the risk was minimal. I decided not to take the risk but then I do already have one child.

People seem to vary with their experience of chemo and you can always stop if you find it unbearable, that choice is still there. I just keep thinking “5-10%”.

Hi Everyone

Thanks again for all your comments and advice… I have decided to go ahead with chemo and I start on 17th Dec… Scary stuff but i’ve bought myself a wig and some bandanas so quite looking forward to a change in image! When I told my onc that I was going ahead with it he said that I had made a good decision.

I too will be having 6 cycles of FEC… Apparently this does less harm on the overies and many women have gone on to have kids after FEC so fingers crossed…

xx

Hi Yasemin,

I’ve only just seen this post and want to wish you good luck. I think you’ve made the right decision but then I’m off the opinion that, as long as it’s not mega unbearable, I’ll give anything a go !

I wasn’t given the ‘choice’ of whether to have chemo - I was stage 3 with a 7cm tumour so it had to be shrunk before surgery. I was fine throughout the chemo & wore the seabands all the time & wasn’t sick at all. I did have slightly different chemo to you as well. I was really glad I’d had chemo as after surgery they had to upgrade my cancer to stage 4 as they then found 12 out of 22 lymph nodes were effected plus one vertebrae and a bit on some ribs.

Now I’m 9 months after the end of all my treatment & seeing if I can take retirement from work (that’s another story) so I asked for what my chances would have been & are now. I knew they would be scary & they were - without chemo & hormone therapy I would have a 98% chance of recurrence within 10 yrs & with it that drops to 80%. My chances of surviving 10 yrs without were 10% and with treatment 25%. No brainer in my book !!! By the way I was 42 at diagnosis, with no kids but never had a maternal instinct so that wasn’t an issue for me !

Hope this hasn’t frightened you - I would happily have the chemo again if it gave me even a 1% chance more. Someone has to be in that percentage !!

Good luck & take all the stuff they offer to help combat any possible side effects !

Liz