advice please

hi,i was diagnosed with a grade 2 invasive ductal breast cancer of approx 20mm on 16th jan,had a lumpectomy to remove the tumour on 2nd of feb,i went back to see my consultant last week,who explained it hadn,t spread,asked me too think about chemo,because of my age atc,i saw my oncolagist today,who again talked about chemo,saying it would improve my chances by 2.5 %,and he would recommend i have it if it were 5%,offered me radiotherapy,tamoxifen and goserelin,which i opted for,since then my breast care nurse has phoned me,to check i understood it all,n said about the chemo also.all my family n friends have said i should of had the chemo because any chance is better than no chance,beginning to wonder myself if i,ve made the right desision,has anyone else been in this position,advice please

Hi Susielee

My situation was very similar to yours last August and was offered Chemo by my Oncologist but not by my consultant/surgeon, who said that after my lumpectomy I would only need Rads and tamoxifen. However, when I saw my Oncologist she offered the chemo and gave me all the stats. For me personally it was a no brainer and I opted for chemo, however it wasn’t and isn’t easy especially all the horrid side effects but it is completely doable. But my rationale was that if I do everything I can to prevent this nasty disease returning in whatever form, but if I’m unlucky and it does, i.e. reccurrance or secondaries, then there will never be a moment where I have to look back and think if only I had done that particular treatment… There is no right or wrong answer unfortunately, and the decision is solely yours as it is you who goes through this not your family and friends even though I’m sure they are and will be very supportive.

As I said before it is doable but it’s a hard road to travel down, some more than others, but I will be forever grateful to the ladies on this site as they really got me through this, as well as my family and friends, and continue to do so on a daily basis.

Good luck with your decision, gentle ((hugs)), Simone xx

Hi Susie Lee,

I’m in the same dilemma. My team have said " I can have it if I want to" but they don’t seem too keen. My stats work out to between 2-3% benefit. Take away the risks of chemo and it reduces to 1-2%,
Do you mind me asking what you decided?

Sassy xx

Exactly the same situation for me simone - I dont regret a day of the chemotherapy treatment for the peace of mind it has given me that I threw all that I could at it :slight_smile:

Hi susie

My unit only offers chemo if there’s at least a 3% benefit… Anything less and the risks really outweigh the benefits… I had BC in 2006 and was grade 1 but otherwise same as yours and even though I was 37 I wasn’t offered chemo.

Iv since had chemo twice for an unrelated BC in the other side… Personally I’m glad I didnt have chemo for the first cancer as it wouldnt have stopped me getting the later one but it may have limited the chemo I could have for the more serious second grade 3 TNBC… Most people won’t get another cancer btw but for me I’m glad that I had options for chemo later on.

It’s difficult when it’s left up to you to decide… And what right for one person might not be right for somebody else… But basically you have to make a choice you can live with.

As the others have said chemo isn’t fun but it’s not as bad as I expected it to be either.

Good luck


May I just ask … I read often on the forum re risks versa benefits to having chemo. Are there any long term risks of having chemo or is it more a short term risk while having the treatment like blood clots, bad infection, sepsis?

I wasn’t given the choice, I need the chemo, but if I would have been given a choice I think I would have taken it. But as you see in Lulu’s case it was a good descission not to have it first time round as she needed it now more urgently for her second BC in the other breast, something she didn’t know would happen when she had the first cancer. It’s a tricky one, isn’t it?


Christine xx

Hello ladies,

Thanks Lulu for your comments, that helps. As there are no guarantees whether having chemo or not of it coming back, I’d rather not take the risks of chemo this time round…hopefully won’t have to again but there are no guarantees!

Sassy xx

No guarantees in life unfortunately… Wouldn’t It be useful if we all came with an expiry date stamped on our rear end so we knew how long we had.

Some of the short term effects can be long lasting… Things like your immunity can be lowered for upto a year, peripheral neuropathy can last for many many months, fertility could be permanant, hair and nails could be slow to return particularly if on herceptin.

long term effects from some chemos can be things like cardiac damage from anthracylines like epirubicin or second cancers like leukaemia from damaged bone marrow and although these are very very rare (much lower risk than a recurrence of the cancer they are treating) they can occur.

lulu x

Hi, not sure I agree with Lulu when she says it would be helpful to have an expiry stamp…some things are best not known!
I too was in a very similar situation to the OP. In 2005 I had a 26mm grade 2 tumour completely removed by WLE and with no involved nodes. I went on to have FEC chemotherapy, radiotherapy and continued on hormone treatment. In Feb 2011 I was diagnosed with boney metastases and after a period on hormone treatment I am just about to start on capcetabine. At the time of the secondary diagnosis the BCN said “I’m sorry, breast cancer is unpredictable.”
I say this not to frighten you…you can’t live your life thinking of the worst outcomes and I certainly didn’t. But to say that for me I am glad that I had the chemotherapy because at least I feel I threw everything at it and I think I would have had a regret if I hadn’t done that. The other way of viewing my experience is to think I ran the risks of chemotherapy and still the tumour returned so what was the point!..although it may have slowed the return. Its a very personal decision but I think you have to take the advice of the team advizing you and also be sure you can live ( and live well!) with the decision you have made. best wishes Pam