AC chemo not effective - any advice welcome

Hello lovely forum ladies. I don’t often post but could do with some advice or maybe just a hug!

I am half way through an 8 treatment course of AC Taxol dose dense neo adjuvant chemo. I have a 25 mm stage 2 grade 2 invasive carcinoma in my left breast with at least one, possibly three positive nodes. I have completed the AC part of the course 12 days ago, and had a scan last week which showed that the mass in my breast remains 25mm. A previous scan after 2 doses had indicated a small 4mm reduction but the doctor performing the latest scan thought that the previous doctor might have measured a slightly different part of the mass.

I am so disheartened; I’ve generally tolerated the treatments well and have managed to cope with the SE while maintaining a fairly normal life. The main impact has been the inevitable hair loss and I just look horribly tired and stressed, so overall my self confidence has taken a bit of a battering.

I’ve been googling but I can’t find much about why chemo drugs sometimes don’t work or what it means in terms of my future treatment etc. I am due to start Taxol on Monday but I am worried that I’ll just suffer more SE for no obvious benefit. I was given the chemo first to try to shrink the tumour so that I could possibly have breast conserving surgery rather than a mastectomy, but I can’t see how 4 doses of Taxol can achieve a sufficient reduction to avoid a mastectomy now, and to be honest I just want the cancer removed now whatever it takes-, I have grown far less attached to my breast in the last 2 months!

I just wondered if anyone on here has been in a similar position, and whether they continued with the chemo? Has anyone had a positive experience with Taxol? Maybe I should just be glad it hasn’t grown or spread beyond the nodes; but after this latest scan I am just in a terribly dark place. I had managed to be positive til now, but now I am so afraid that the doctors are not going to be able to get on top of my disease and that I’m not going to have a good outcome.

Thanks so much for reading


Hi Nickyt41…can’t really help you with the chemo question except that Taxol, as far as I know, is a very, very effective treatment. Really hope it works well for you. Just wanted to send you a virtual hug…xo

A hug is a wonderful gift to share
A way to show how much we care
It can hold us up when life gets down
Make us smile instead of frown
Hugs are better when you share
Here’s one from me to show I care

Hi Nicky,

Please don’t despair as scans aren’t always accurate. I was told my 22 mm tumour had shrunk to 19mm at the end of chemo and was disappointed.Final pathology after surgery found no invasive cancer and a bit of DCIS. A lot of the lump was scar tissue. And some people respond better to taxanes.

Good luck x

Hello Nickyt41, I don’t post often either (like never). However I too have had very similar experience and am hoping my sharing this will help you somewhat.


I have just finished  4 x EC and 4 x Tax neo-adjuvant treatments (started in April). I have multi-focal (ie 5/6 tumours) in left breast plus node involvement. My halfway scans showed no change in size of any of the tumours. Largest 27mm. However the MRI showed a definite change in the ‘network’ between the tumours.


During the 4 x Tax the oncologists were finding that the largest tumour (the only one that can be felt) became more mobile and less defined on each appointment. This was very encouraging. However my last MRI again showed that the tumours were all still there and the extent hadn’t changed. They DID say that my nodes were showing as clear. This news was extremely encouraging - as at least I felt that any other little cancers that may have migrated may be stopped in the their tracks.  But until I have my surgery (MX and Node clearance) next week and the pathologist starts poking around in the bit that gets taken off, no-one really knows what’s going on in there.


I really felt that the Tax did a lot more than the EC. It could be the EC paved the way for the Tax to do it’s work - but I’m afraid I’m not that clued up on how the order of chemotherapy drugs interact with the tumours.


Every person on this forum has such a personal and individual case, so I know you can’t exactly take this story and apply it to yourself. However I do hope it helps in that you’re not the only one out there wondering at the half way point what it’s all about.


I do hope your Tax went well today and the next few weeks (and the rest of your treatment) are good for you.





Hello ladies


Thank you so much for your repiles, they gave me a bit more perspective over a difficut few days, so thank you so much for taking the time to reply.  I saw my oncologist on Monday before my first Taxol session and she was also encouraging.  She explained that my stage 2 tumour is slow growing and dramatic reductions are not always seen with slow growing tumours. She also reassured me that the chemo drugs would be catching any rogue cancer cells that might be floating around else where as the chemo can attach those individual cells more easily than the tumour in the breast and the lymph nodes. So my treatment is carrying on as planned and I had the first Tax on Monday.  I feel ok so far, no nausea which is great and no aches or pains yet.  Hope that continues!


Smcanary - I just wanted to wish you all the best for the surgery next week, I will be thinking of you.  I hope you get good news from the pathology, and that you have a speedy recovery.  At least you will be nearing the home straight soon, please do let me know how you get on if you can come on and post something sometime.


Thanks again ladies, and wishing you all the very best