anyone refused chemo for the second time?

Had WLE and ANC last April, followed by 3 FEC/3 Tax for chemo - followed by 25 rads. Everything clear at yearly check up - then developed cancer on the skin of the same breast. Had Mx with LD flap and all skin removed in Sept this year. Saw oncologist today and she said it was a recurrence of same cancer as last year, and recommends more Chemo - 6 Carboplatin and Docetaxel given together over 6 sessions. My initial reaction today was NO!  I said I felt that none of last year’s Chemo and Rads  had worked last time and it had all been for nothing. She said she understood what I was saying, and couldn’t understand why the cancer had come back so quickly. She also said that the 2nd cancer would not have been picked up by any tests and it had only come to light because I had noticed it and asked for help. I really don’t know what to do, she obviously expected to sign the forms today and I refused. She said to think about it and come back in 3 weeks time with my decision.   I had no lumps or tumours when they did the Mx, but there was still some bad cells near where the first op (WLE) had taken place plus the cells on the skin. Has anyone refused more chemo so soon after the first lot?  I feel it is going to take me ages to get back to normality after the LD flap without inflicting more SE’s from extra chemo. Any advice or feedback would be really appreciated. Also any advice from anyone who has had this chemo regime.

K M x

Hi KM,

I have been diagnosed with a third BC this time it’s a recurrance in my right breast - the other two were primarys one in my right breast in 2002 and one in my left in 2007. I had chemo for both and 30 sessions of radio and lumpectomy with complete node clearance twice. This time I had a Double Mastectomy with immediate reconstruction 6 weeks ago and getting Hickman Line fitted on Friday. I’m having Carboplatin/Taxol by 6. Like you my Onc said he couldn’t understand why this recurrance came about, but advised me to have chemo. I have to admit I’m having it with a heavy heart, as I dread being bald and all the nasty S/Effects for a third time! I know it’s hard, but if one tiny cell got into our soft tissues - we will zap in now! Best Wishes with your decision making as I know it’s hard! Take Care B xxx

One of the February Valentines found a recurrence whilst having her first regime  of chemo (FEC-T) and has also developed secondaries. She is gladly having her second lot (Gem/Carbo) to give her a better chance of surviving for longer, to spend as much time as possible with her family. 


Another of the Valentines had Carboplatin and Docetaxel with Herceptin for her treatment. Pop to the Feb Vals thread in the monthly chemo groups section to read her comments.



Hi KM, I finished FEC-T in Feb this year, rads in April. Had clear mammograms, CT and MRI in early Aug (1 yr since first diagnosis) but I noticed lumps on neck above collar bone and ultrasound/biopsy confirmed cancer back in lymph nodes.

I started Carboplatin/Gemcitabine in Sept despite swearing never again while on FEC. It’s very hard, especially as Although I felt good my energy levels were not quite back up to normal and my blood counts not great even before first chemo this time despite my healthy eating & supplements etc. I really can understand your feelings, but although I absolutely hate chemo I don’t fancy the alternative outcome either.

BTW my onc said it was best to have completely different chemos this time so no more Docetaxol (Tax).

Good luck with whatever you decide!

TJ xxx

Hi Kitten Mad,


I’m one of the February Valentines mentioned by Poemsgalore above.


I had 6 sessions of Carboplatin and Docetaxol (with Herceptin at the same time). My last session was July 23rd. Since then I’ve had 15 rads.  Everyone reacts differently to chemo, but all I can say is that this regimen was kind to me. Yes, I lost most of my hair, but kept my brows and lashes. I was never sick and never took a single anti-sickness tablet. The only medication I needed were the occasional Immodium (diarrhoea) and I took Paracetamol before the infusion and for 24 hours after to ward off the potential flu-like symptoms. I had the peripheral neuropathy that is common on chemo in my finger tips (soon disappeared) but still have it in my feet, and although it feels odd it doesn’t affect my daily life at all. I became tired and fatigued as time progressed with aching heavy legs, but again nothing too bad. I didn’t get any painful joints, nor did I have any mouth ulcer problems. I didn’t need any duvet days throughout the whole period, and most of the time felt well. I was unlucky enough to get neutropenia during the first cycle and was hospitalised for 3 nights, but this can happen with any chemo regimen, and my oncologist prescribed the Neulasta single blood boosting jab taken 24 hours after chemo for the remaining cycles, so it didn’t happen again and my bloods were normal. I also managed 2 week long cottage holidays whilst on chemo.


Good luck with whatever you decide. xxx

Does anyone have qualms about the ethics of accepting treatment?

I will get the results later today of scans etc to see whether I have secondaries as well as a local recurrence of the cancer which was treated two years ago with lumpectomy, DCT chemo, radio and Herceptin.   I reacted really badly to chemo, in an out of hospital etc. etc. etc.   I will have a mastectomy this time - no brainer for me, but am seriously considering refusing chemo, if offered.   I have three equally important reasons:  one, I am more interested in quality and dignity of life than in mere survival; two if it didn’t work last time, I don’t believe it will this time and three, I don’t think it is sustainable or ethical.   The radiologist who did my CT scan last week [and my bowels still aren’t right from the dye] said he tried not to think of what my pee will do to the drains.   My mother spent nine days in an observation ward last year with no hydration [I had gone at her request to represent her at a funeral at the other end of the country in weather which caused police, etc, to advise people not to travel at all;  the medics continually said she would be moved ‘in a couple of hours’].  I have regular contact with Asylum Seekers from countries torn by war as a consequence [partly] of western colonialism and more recent interventions.  Because of all these experiences, I don’t think the expense of cancer treatment, second time round, for a retired person like me, is justifiable.  

I can’t find any current info re the environmental impact of cancer treatment.  Can anyone point me towards any?


Thanks for all your replies. I had a better day yesterday, and spoke to my Surgeon, whose judgement and treatment of me is much preferable to my oncologist’s approach. He said I could monitor it for a few months and then decide then, so I think that is what I will do. As my recurrence was Lymphatic he said it had nowhere else to go and couldn’t have spread, so it had to come out in the skin, (she did not explain this), and of course, he said I had spotted it in the first place and they had fobbed me off saying it was a SE of rads or Hormone treatment. He also said that I had had a lot to come to terms with having a MX at 30 minutes notice, which was a shock to the system.  I also had a long chat with a MacMillan Nurse and my Breast Care Nurse which helped.  I was just annoyed that she had expected me to sign on the dotted line there and then, without any chance to think it over and get more advice and info. She had a student in with her, and I think she was demonstrating her “tough love” approach to him, and she is obviously not used to patients answering her back!  I am interested in the advice that completely new drugs should be given a 2nd time and will put this to her as well. I am so sorry that some of you have had a recurrence even sooner than I have. Take care K M x