Any problems doing it this way round?

I am about to start radio and hormone therapy and I am waiting for bone scans etc. My onchologist wants me to have chemo as well which I don’t really want. He has agreed to let me begin my treatment whilst I make up my mind about chemo. Has anyone else had chemo after radiotherapy and will it make any difference to the outcome?
XM

Hi

My hosp said it doesnt matter which way round.

I was told chemo would depend on my HER2 status, which took so long to get the results that I had finished radiotherapy before they knew if I needed chemo.

It is unusual this way round, but not a problem.

Thanks for your reply- it’s reasuring. I’m still not sure whether I’m prepared to put myself through chemo- I’m so scared about having it. This way round at least gives me some breathing space to think things through.
XM

Hi missm,

Very difficult to give advice without knowing why your medical team have opted for radiotherapy before chemo. Did they explain why? If not maybe you could ask them to. If you are thinking about rejecting any treatment, for your own sake, you will want to have all the information to make an informed decision. No doctor will recommend chemo lightly.
What I can say is that whereas radiotherapy is localised and will treat the immediate area where cancer has been known to be present, chemo is systemic and treats the whole body. It means that it is more likely to kill off any stray cancer cells that might have travelled beyond the original site of your cancer.

I had the full monty but in a different order, chemo, then mastectomy then radiotherapy and finally Herceptin. The reason I had chemo first was to reduce the chance of further spread as my cancer is very aggressive. I also needed to reduce the size of the tumour to allow the mastectomy. I’m sure your own medical team will have very good reasons why they’ve chosen to do it differently.

Hope this helps.

Jan xx

The reason I am having radiotherapy first is to give me time to make up my mind whether I can put myself through chemo- something I really don’t want to have. I went to pieces when I saw the oncologist as I wasn’t expecting to hear I needed chemo- my tumour is only 1.5. This way round gives me time to come to terms with things and make a clearer judgement about the future.

Good luck with your decision missm and I hope you have lots of support whatever way you go.

The size of your tumour isn’t always the most important thing. Just as important is how likely your type of cancer is to spread beyond the original site. I won’t pretend chemo was easy but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. With hindsight it was a bit like pregnancy and giving birth. It lasted for months and you soon forget the bad bits when the final result is all worth it.

best wishes for a good outcome for you.

Jan xx

Thanks for your good wishes and for letting me know what it was like for you. It’s good to know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It seems a long way off at the moment.
XM

You’ll get there. Were all stronger than we think we are.

Jan xx

Hi there

I’d think carefully about rejecting chemo because as others have said they don’t recommend this if they think it isn’t needed and also it treats the whole body not just the area of local cancer. I presume you have asked them to explain why it is needed in your particular case?

Can I ask what it is about chemotherapy that is making you think twice about going ahead when you’re having the other treatments?

All the treatment is tough for breast cancer but we do get through it.

take care
Elinda x

Hi elinda
I know other treatments are pretty bad but I am just terrified at the thought of chemo - I hate feeling ill, and I really don’t want to loose my hair- I’m just really frightened of the whole process. Reading about other people’s experieces don’t seem to allay my fears either - I’m just a whimp really!
XM

HI there

Well there’s no shame in that. Perhaps you need to think about weighing up things like losing hair and feeling ill for a few months against the potential for it to stop the cancer spreading.

I had just go over very major surgery for something else when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I couldn’t believe it. the thought of going through more medical procedures after what I’d already been through was terrible. What pushed me on though was the strong to desire to keep living and get well.

Your hair will grow back (you can get a nice wig for going out - they’re much better than I thought) and you’ll get over feeling ill from the chemo.

Personally if it’s been recommended I’d take any treatment that could help. Perhaps speak to your Onc again and ask them to explain why it’s recommended for you.

It’s probably also worth remembering that this forum is somewhere where people can let off steam etc so those of us who had bad experiences on chemo are much more likely to write about them than people who gone through without too many problems. Some people are even well enough to carry on working through their chemo!

take care
Elinda x

Hi Elinda
Thanks for putting things into perspective. I have had a long sleepless night thinking things through. This morning I had heart to heart with my husband. I phoned the BC nurse at 9 oclock and told her to make arrangemnts for me to have chemo first. I’m still very tearful and feeling sorry for myself but I know in my heart I’m doing the right thing. I know it will be a fight but I am deturmined to get there. Thanks
XM

Hi there

What a difficult decision for you. I have to say that I am relieved you’re having the chemo as it was recommended. You’ll find lots of support on this forum if you want it.

I have felt sorry for myself many times and shed many tears but perhaps when we have to be we’re tougher than we realise. What has kept me going through this treatment is knowing that other women have been through it all too and are going through it. I’m also so thankful that we have the treatment options there are available to us.

sounds like your husband is supportive too. Mine has been great and that does help a lot.

take care and big hug to you.
Elinda x

Hi i have just read your thread - i definately think you have made the right decision. We have all felt the fears that you feel do not belittle them. Make sure you are talking to those you trust and love and you will not go far wrong. I had chemo, double mastectomy,and i am awaiting rads, hormone treatment. My tumor started at 6.9mm and the chemo killed virtually all of it and it gave me such a relieve knowing that if the chemo had done that to the tumor then i know that should a stray cell had gone around the body then that would have been destroyed also - that is the piece of mind the chemo gives you. Six years ago i watched my dad have chemo and it was awful, my experience was nothing like it - things have moved on so much and they are able to deal with the side effects brilliantly these days, just make sure you take the tablets at the right time and you will be fine. Good luck to you… you will be fine…you are stronger than you think… xx

Hi

I’m new to this thread but I’m glad to hear that you’ve decided to have the chemo. I’m due to meet onc team on Fri and I cant wait to start chemo. I was informed from the beginning that I would have it and its reassuring to know it will kill any of the little suckers that might have escaped. My tumour was much larger 35mm and has been cut out. Its hard to be positive but I’ll atke anything they throw at me!

Julia xx

I think you’re very brave to decide on what was obviously the tough choice for you but I’m sure it’s the right thing.

Hopefully you’ll sail through it as lots of people do. Don’t be hard on yourself if you do get some side effects. Make it easier by accepting help when it’s offered. I know that sounds obvious but if you are usually very independent it can be hard to adjust to letting people do things for you.

best of luck.

Jan xx