Chemo before surgery. When did you notice your lump shrinking?

Mum is having chemo before surgery . She’s due for her 3rd session later this week. Mum thinks her lump has shrunk a bit but she’s not sure if she’s just imaging it. She is due for a scan in a few weeks. Would love to hear from anyone who’s had neo-adjuvant chemo . When did you notice your tumour starting shrinking? Mum was very positive when she was diagnosed but since starting chemo she’s been feeling quite low so if her tumour is shrinking then it will give her something positive to think about as it shows chemo is working.

Hi Kat77,

so sorry to read that your Mum is having to have treatment for bc - I am sure she is really glad of your support.  I had neoadjuvant chemo (FEC-T) nearly three years ago and have come to realise that there are lots of variables that impact how effective it seems to be to us patients… so for example if it is ER+ as mine was, they know the response will be different from if it is HER2+ or Triple Negative.


I was lucky in that my tumour (which was HUGE) shrank palpably after each round of chemo, though more or less ‘stalled’ after the third FEC, before shrinking a lot on the T.  From a start size of 8cm it shrank to 2cm of which only 4mm was still cancer at surgery :)  (the rest was scar tissue).  From the starting point where my oncologist could easily measure it, after one cycle he said straight away (before he measured it with some caliper thingies) ‘that’s definitely smaller’.  After my second T he siad ‘I can’t accurately feel it anymore’ which made me very happy!


What I did not appreciate at that time though, is that not all tumours behave the same - some don’t seem to shrink much but are dying inside whilst others actually fall apart, so obvious shrinking isn’t the only measure of success.


Hopefully your mum’s tumour will shrink away nicely, and I really doubt she is imagining it’s getting smaller, as we tend to over-estimate out own lumps and bumps.


Hope she is keeping well, and all good wishes for her treatment.

Hi Kat77


Sorry to hear about your mum.


I am having neo-adjuvant therapy and I noticed a reduction in the size of my main tumour adter the first session. Mine had felt like a very large egg and about 2 weeks after the first session it felt less firm and definitely was smaller. When the onc had a feel she said she could feel it starting to break up and confirmed it was not just my imagination.


I think we all react differently, but it did give me a boost to actually be able to feel the chemo was working.


Deb x

Hi I’ve had 4 fec and 4 docetaxal and after each cycle my tumour shrunk a bit at a time. Now at the end nothing can be felt by the onc Which is great news. hope ypur mum feels a bit more confident in chemo with a few positives wish her all the best with the rest of her treatment. I am now due to have r side mx using LD flap and left side recon.
So not far to go just radiotherapy but after reading threads on here its no where near anything like chemo.
Good luck xx