AC Chemotherapy

Hi All,
Is there anyone had AC chemotherapy(doxorubicin + cyclophosphamide)? I would like to here from you. I may require this treatment but waiting for HER2 results.I am worried about the side effects of this treatment and I would like to know how you got on throught this .


Hi Elenamae

Welcome to the forums. You’ve come to the right place for support as many of the users of this site have a wealth of information and experience between them.

While you are waiting for replies could I suggest that you give our free helpline a ring on 0808 800 6000 and have a confidential chat with one of the breast care nurses who are there to support you through this, lines are open to Monday to Friday 9.00 – 5.00 and Saturday 9.00 – 2.00.

Kind regard
June (moderator)

Hi Elenamae

I had AC just over 5 years ago now. I don’t think it’s used that often in this country although i think it’s used more often in America, not sure why. Maybe someone else can answer that.

It’s quite a harsh chemo but it’s do-able. Everyone’s different when it comes to side effects from chemo but this was my experience

I had the chemo every 3 weeks for just four cycles.

I had an ECG before I started on AC as it has been known to have an affect on the heart.

I felt very sick for first three days, gradually wore off fourth day onwards. Extreme fatigue by about day ten lasted for several days. The week leading up to next cycle would start to feel something nearing normal ready for next chemo.

My hair started to thin about 14 days after first chemo, scalp was very sore by the time I had second chemo and was falling out so much the day after that my sister shaved what was left off.

I would advise you to insist on good anti-sickness meds, ask for them to be changed if first lot don’t work.

It sounds awful but as I said it’s do-able, it wasn’t the best time of my life but it was just a few months and you’d be surprised how quickly it passes.

If there’s anything else I can help you with please ask. I don’t post very often these days but if I can help I’d be happy to.

You may get more replies if you put your post in the chemotherapy treatment forum.

Best wishes

Hello Elenamae
I had AC Nov 08 - Jan 09 I had 4 sessions adminstered every two weeks ( i went on to Tax for the other 4) as Kim says its harse but doable. and yes everyone reacts differently so this is only my experience

I had a portacath fitted and would recommend that as long as it is sited in a good place

First session hit me like a brick and i was in over night,
definately make sure you get your anti sickness, i would also start taking something like ‘movicol’ to help with going to the loo, drink lots and lots of water, I also had to take omeprazole to stop heart burn later in the treatment but wish i had taken it sooner and not suffered.

24 hours after each session i had an injection of Neulasta to help the production of white cells, i took tramadol for 4 days after this and would definately take pain killers, I was shown how to inject myself and did this for the other 3 times as i didn’t want to trek back to the clinic

I would feel sick from the day after each session for 5/6 days usually starting to get over it by day 7, but was very tired.

I started an irritating cough from about day 5 of my first session and that stayed with me throughout AC. I took a simple cough linctus to sooth it.

I had had a period 2 weeks prior to starting chemo but never had one again. Had hot flushes with a vengance from day 12

Skin was very dry, eye sore and i used drops in my eyes constantly, mouth was sore as were gums ( use a soft toothbrush)

feel free to PM me if you want anyother info

I had numbness in my toes and fingers from the first session

as i say, its doable , rest and listen to your body and ask your medical team. Are you getting treated privately or NHS ( mine was private)

take care Rhian xx

Hi Elenamae

I started EC chemo 14th January, and will be having 4 cycles of 3 weeks each. I believe EC is very similar to AC, my chemo nurse said it is also known as AC, I hope I have got this right.

My treatment was in the morning, and apart from feeling a bit heady I was fine until I started feeling a little queasy during the evening. I felt very sick overnight and this continued until mid afternoon the next day, when it eased. By the third day I was only feeling a little queasy again, but this continued to ease off. My medication is going to be altered for next time, so it shouldn’t be as bad.
I was very tired days 4 - 8, spent much of these days in bed and I was still quite heady, but has improved since then. Last few days I have been almost back to normal - just have to pace myself.

I also had the Neulasta injection the day after - it didn’t help having to trek back to the hospital when I was still feeling very rough, but I have arranged for this to be done by a nurse at our local surgery next time.
From what others have said, and my own experience oncs are keen to keep SEs to a minimum, and I have a review before each treatment, to adjust meds as necessary.

I also had constipation problems, which again with a change of meds will be better next time round.

I also had an odd taste in my mouth for the first few days after, but this has almost gone now. I have been fending off cystitus, which is a side effect of the Cyclophosphamide by drinking lots. I have been suffering from hot flashes - have got myself a chillow to help with those. (but this had started before my treatment anyway).

I did use the cold cap - am just waiting and watching to see when/how much hair I will lose in the next week or so. Scalp very tight at the moment.

I know all this sounds a lot, and at the end of wk 1 it did feel as if everything seemed to be hitting me one thing after another, but I have felt well for a few days now, and should be ok until my next round as long as I don’t overdo it. I am working part-time, but I work from home so am just doing what I can when I feel ok. I have learnt some ways to cope better with the SEs next time round.
I have been able to go out for a walk most days, only short walks at first - but am now back up to an hour a day.

As Rhian says, it is do-able. If I can help any further please do PM me.

All the best