Chemo before Operation

Hi ladies,
I’ve just been diagnosed with BC, I have 2 lumps and biopsies confirmed it is invasive & spread to my limph nodes (one breast). I am being given chemo first then the op. Has this happened to anyone else? Most people appear to have the op first. My chemo starts next week & the stage of cancer not confirmed yet. xx

Good evening Nik. I too am having chemo before surgery. I have stage 3 IDC, triple negative. I’m going down the chemo first route as this type tends to respond well to chemo in the hope that I can just have a lumpectomy. I have had a clip fitted today so they know where the lump has been once the chemo works it’s magic. I start my chemo on 17th may but that’s only because I’m going on holiday next week. They would have started me then too if I wasn’t away.
Keep positive and use this amazing forum whenever you need to
Annie x

Hi.I had chemo first as my oncologist said I wouldn’t be happy with the outcome of I had surgery first…the chemo shrinks the lump in fact it shrank mine so much that I didn’t need to complete my course of chemo and got away with only four instead of six.The lump was practically undetectable just before my op and the result looks much better than if I’d had it first.

Thanks Annie, it felt like I was the only one doing chemo first then the op after reading posts on here. My consultant has advised that I will probably need a mastectomy rather than lumpectomy because I have 2 lumps in different areas-but I guess they have to tell you worse case. Hopefully the chemo will shrink the cancer enough for a lumpectomy. However if they have to remove my breast I’m fine with that if it makes things safer for me. I’ve got 2 young children so all this is terrifying but I’m trying to keep positive for their sake as much as mine. I’m finding this forum useful already :slight_smile: Nik X

Thanks Treeze, wow that sounds like a really positive outcome for you in an awful situation. Hope your on the road to full recovery now. xx

I’m 31 with 2 children as well, your a definitely not alone in this. The woman on here are incredible, as are you. Strength comes from within but if anything can help with positivity it will be your beautiful babies. Everyone’s treatment plan is individual to their own situations and your medical team will be working behind the scenes to make sure you get the best possible treatment.
As soon as my head tries to go into a dark place I come on here and the world suddenly doesn’t seem so bad
Annie x

Hi, I’ve recently been diagnosed with stage 2 Oestrogen positive HER2 negative locally advanced BC including local nodes. I’m having 8 rounds of FEC-T followed by surgery (probably a mastectomy due to size of lump). I’m 48. I’m staying positive and strong about it and have read a lot of articles about nutrition/foods and supplements which help or hinder both BC and chemo. Make sure you look at reputable sources to check any “research” into foods and supplements as there are many contradictions out there. I was quite concerned about having the chemo first but it seems to be fairly common practice.

I had chemotherapy first. They were originally going to operate first, then they changed their minds. My circumstances were similar to Treeze, although I did have to complete all 6 cycles of chemotherapy to achieve the same effect. I had my lumpectomy in January, and have just finished radiotherapy. I am now looking forward to returning to work and getting my life back.


Having chemotherapy first can mean the difference between mastectomy and lumpectomy. It is more likely to work for you if the BC is triple negative, or if it is HER 2+ and you are able to have targeted therapy (Herceptin and Perjeta) with it. It could also get rid of the BC in your lymph nodes, so that full clearance may not be necessary.


I won’t pretend chemotherapy is easy, because it isn’t, and for many of us it is the hardest part of the treatment plan. But provided you get the right support from your medical team and your friends and family, you will cope. Also take advantage of any other help and advice available, such as this forum and any local support groups. When you have a start date for the chemotherapy, you can join the monthly thread which you will find in the Going Through Treatment part of the forum. There you will be able to make contact with other ladies going through chemotherapy at the same time as you. This can be a great source of support because you can say things on here that you can’t say to others who have no first hand experience​ of BC treatment. I hope this helps.




Hi there, I’ve just had my first chemo session this week. I’m grade 3, her2+ with multiple areas and detected in the nodes although don’t know how many. Just had a CT scan so hopefully will know more soon. I was alarmed at chemo being the first treatment but trust the consultant wholeheartedly. There’s an April chemo group on Facebook although I don’t know how to link it’s called April chemo starters breast cancer care. Come and join everyone is lovely and supportive xxx