Chemo for a grade 2

Hi i am starting chemo very soon - 6 x FEC and was wondering if anybody out there has had FEC for a grade 2, er +, stage 1 cancer with clear nodes.
Alot of the posts I read are for grade 3 cancers. I chose to have chemo as it worked out that i would have an extra 5% chance of not having a recurrence in 10 years time.
What i worry about though is how effective chemo is for grade 2, er+ cancers.
If anyone can shed any light on this or share thier experiences i wouod be really grateful - maybe i am just getting scared now about starting it.
Many thanks - Melx

Hi Mel,

I can think of one person just off the top of my head who’s done the same as you, so you’re not alone. If that 5% is important to you, then you’ve made the right decision.

And I’m completely with you about being scared to start. At my first FEC session I was a total wuss and wouldn’t talk to anybody at all. Thank goodness I brought my OH with me, he fielded the chatty nurse who I think was a bit scared of the monosyllabic statue sitting in the chair with tears leaking out of her eyes. I’ll be ok for No. 2, but the first one is bound to be scary.

Good luck, others will be along shortly.


I have grade 2 lobular with ‘suspicius’ nodes, because it is lobular and so hidden for longer there was a greater chance that it could have spread - having had all tests known to woman all other areas are clear. Also ER+ My treatment is 6 chemo, mx poss rads.

I opted to have the chemo 1st as i thought that psycologically it would be better for me to get thru’ chemo without looking at a missing bit. I was due to have tax too but can’t due to an allergy to it so ma just on FEC.

Because i have boob still i can see what’s going on and let me reassure you that the change has been amazing - sometimes overnight. My boob, which was very peculiar looking in dec, now looks virtually normal. Because of the impact FEC has had my Onc said that she wouldn’t have bothered with Tax anyway ( I tried it first for a trial).

I didn’t have to make the difficult choice of chemo that you have but hopefully my experience will reassure you that it’s worth it. There will be days when you question your wisdom but equally you will be able to much that you would anyway, I have had weekends away, days out, nights out and ‘normal stuff’ too.

Hope this helps. It’s without doubt tough but is do-able.


I had chemo 7 years ago, was grade 2 but 6 of 18 nodes were cancerous, also ER+. I had 6 FEC which i found okay for first 1 or 2 but after that I wasn’t too good, very tiring.

All I would say is everyone is different, I thought I would sail through it like a lady who was 2 sessions ahead of me, she had kept working but it wasn’t to be.

Personally I wanted to have all the treatment they offered,chem, rads then I had 5 years of tamoxifen(fine on that), now on Femara(having problems with dry mouth)

Take care


Hi Mel,

I’m having FEC-T chemo for grade 2 as well. At first, we didn’t think I’d need it as I’m stage 1, node negative, ER/PR+ and HER2 neg. Original plan - lumpectomy, rads x 15, tamoxifin for 5 years. However, searching around the web, I found out about the Oncotype DX test that is offered in the US. Its a genetic test that looks at 21 genes in your specific tumour and can evaluate risk of reoccurrance and benefit of chemotherapy specifically for hormone positive, node negative tumours. Its not covered by insurance in the UK, but my doctor thought it would be very beneficial to do as around 70% of treatment plans are changed by the result - most node neg, hormone + cancers don’t get a benefit from chemo as their chance of reoccurrance is very low. The results came back and my treatment was indeed changed - unfortunately, I had a fairly high reoccurance score (29 which corresponds to a 19% risk of reoccurance in 10 years) but with FEC-T added to the mix, the risk could be reduced to 5%! This was a much bigger difference than the original projection of only a 3% benefit from chemo. So, decision made and money well spent.

Even with all this info, I questioned my onc about FEC-T as it seems so aggressive. She told me it is the gold standard and she was looking at my prognosis 20 years down the line. My Mom is very active with the American Breast Cancer Charity in America and had the diagnosis and treatment confirmed by the leading breast cancer expert in the US. So I’ve decided to stop questioning.

Had my first FEC infusion in London yesterday and feel surprisingly well. If I didn’t know I had chemo, I would actually know it, if you know what I mean. I know I may still get side effects over the next few days, but I am so drugged up with anti-sickness meds, meds to counteract the effects of anti-sickness meds, etc, etc. Perhaps I’ll get lucky.

I hope this is not too much information and is helpful. Love to hear how you are getting on.


Hi Mel. Mine is grade 2 er+, though i also have node involvement so not stage 1. When they initially thought my nodes weren’t involved, chemo was a possibility; when the nodes were positive it was a definite. But having seen the stats for the difference chemo gives you in survival/cancer not recurring, particularly for ‘young’ women (I’m 36), it was a no-brainer. I guess you’d have to ask the medics for how effective it is for grade 2 as opposed to grade 3, but hopefully it works against all of the little blighters! As I had my lump removed prior to chemo, there is no way of knowing whether the chemo is effective, but it should be just tidying up anything accidentally left behind so is definitely worth a shot.

I’m having FEC as well, 2 down, 4 to go, and its not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The first one is scary as you don’t know what to expect, and you’re waiting for all of the side effects to kick in, but once you’ve done one, its much less worrying. Apart from the first few days/week of each cycle, for me its been fine. I’m not going out running like I used to, but I’m still getting out for fresh air, occasionally going to work when I can fit it into my schedule, and having the odd glass of wine (medicinal of course).

Best of luck with your treatment, you’ll be fine.

Al x

Hi, I am also a grade 2, stage 2b ILC, had fec/tax mainly due to size of both tumours and being multifocal. I did really question the need for Chemo but my onc made it very clear the benefits outweighed the risks. Good Luck. X

Hi Mel,
A friend of mine had a very similar diagnosis to you, and she had chemo. That was nearly 11 years ago, and she is still fit and well today. I don’t think she has ever regretted having chemo for one moment.

Thanks for getting back to me. I just began to question it all when I got back from seeing my oncologist.
He did say i could have the oncotype test but it would cost 800 pounds and the results would not be back before he wants me to start chemo anyway.
I decided to go for chemo and basically have everything that is offered to try and beat it and keep it at bay.

Well done Mel-I had chemo for my Grade2 tnbc and was grateful for the chance to hammer the little b******

Hi Mel, I’m a newbie here-well I’ve been lurking before but not posted!

I started FEC yesterday and just like you my BC is Grade 2Stage 1 er+ nodes negative.Having said that, my first core biospy came back grade 3 but that changed at the final histology. Shockingly, I was diagnosed a few days before having a preventative bilateral mx as I have the breast cancer gene mutation BRCA2. The onc initially steered me towards just having tamoxifen and ovary suppression/removal (removal due to BRCA status and ovarian cancer risk for me). She didn’t ever say that chemo was off the menu as such, she just pointed out that the benefit was small and that the risks were almost equal to the potential benefit.

My sister also took the decision to have chemo when she had the same diagnosis nearly 2 years ago and she did have problems, becoming neutropenic and hospitalised for 6 days after fec 5 and she could have died had she not been keeping an eye on her temperature every day as she hadn’t even been feeling that poorly just a slight cold. She decided not to have fec 6 but still doesn’t regret her decision.In my mind, there is a chance of surviving chemo complications but sadly not if you get secondaries. Like you, I just want to do everything I can and those extra few percent chance after 10 years are worth it to me, so you’re not alone!

The treatment went fine yesterday, no pain or nausea and I had it through a canula, not a line. Also I had the cold cap which I found bearable after the first 15 minutes or so and I’m grateful to have a chance to keep my hair! I hope all goes well for you, Vanessa xxx

Hi there, I too had exactly the same diagnosis 9 years ago, grade 2, no node involvement. i just had rads for 20 sessions and felt i had got off lightly, then tamoxifen for the full 5 years with minimal effects.
Unfortunately you can find me on the secondary section now, my ocnologist says with my diagnosis she wouldn’t have done anything different 9 years ago and nor would she if I was presented today, but I can’t help wondering… I had almost all of my nodes out, as they did it like that in thoses days, just left a few, which as it turns out was rather unfortunate.
I can’t suggest what you decide, just letting you know that I am in the 5% and I thought it was all done and dusted
Take care and good luck with whatever you decide
Clare x

Hi all, a grade 2 here no nodes er+ pr -, no chemo offered, 20 rads and tamoxifen for 5 yrs, tbqh everyone going on about if you have chemo you have given it your ‘all’ , so if mine comes back I guess its all my own fault as I should have insisted on having chemo! Also at 36 I am still considered young for having bc anyway, and should have had the ‘works’, as yoy all put it.

Good luck with whatever you decide upon, but please don’t make the ‘only’ rads girls feel guilty x

sorry.I really should read the thread before I post :slight_smile:

Hi Crazy cat lady
please forgive me if i have offended you or anyone else who is under going treatment of radiotherapy only. All the treatments we have to endure to try and beat this are awful and difficult. I was just so stressed at having to actually make the decision myself as to whether or not I had chemo and even now I am still unsure as to whether i have made the right decision or not. Melx

No, you didn’t offend me, I just get pi#d off in general with people assuming if your young they give you chemo, and then everyone stating well if you have chemo then you’ve thrown ‘the book’ at ‘it’, I have to just assume those of us who weren’t offered chemo, haven’t tried hard enough.
Either that or I’m just v. Grumpy today, good luck with your treatment, hope all goes well for you.x

Sorry to jump in on this but after reading ur posts i’m a bit worried now!

I had mx on 7th March, had IDC (8mm tumour) & a 5cm spread of DCIS, grade 2 & overall stage 2, no node involvement…have been told i don’t need Rads or Chemo -just zoladex & tamoxifen.

i am having the oncotype dx test tho as i’m taking part in a clinical trial.

got to say, after them saying they were ‘gonna throw the book at’ me cos am only 38, i am starting to feel a bit like my safety net is unravelling!

hope this test gives me a bit of piece of mind, just gotta wait another 2 weeks for the results to come back now!


Chez, try not to worry, we must have both ducked at the same time when the ‘book’ was thrown at us, I think that’s why the forums are taken up by so many chemo threads, as those of us ‘just’ having rads or tamoxifen, feel we shouldn’t be complaining as we aren’t undergoing chemo, so many of us ladies feel unsupported, and eventually leave the forums, if you post about any SE, any advice is usually based on it not being as bad as chemo, thus again we feel we can’t complain. I’m glad I haven’t had to have chemo, and feel for anyone going through it, but there are others out here who need support and guidance too, and it really gets to me every time someone posts about giving it your all, I trust my onc, but if I am unlucky enough for it to return I will be looking for the onc throwing books!
Hope you get your results soon x

CCL, I am really sorry you feel that way, I most certainly don’t think there’s any “rank” about cancer or that those who have “only” got to have surgery and rads get off lightly. So much of the damage this disease does is to our self-confidence and belief, so whether you “only” have DCIS that requires surgery and gets no other treatment or Grade 3 HER2+ Er+ Pr+ with surgery, chemo, herceptin, rads, tamoxifen, aromatase inhibitors and anything else they want to hit you with, it’s still cancer and it most certainly STILL SUCKS!

“The Book” is very much written for each individual, so there are as many books as there are people with cancer. If your type requires surgery + rads + hormones and that’s what they give you, then you’ve been on the receiving end of your own personal book, and throwing someone else’s book at it might just make you feel loads worse without improving your statistics at all. It’s a bit like saying everyone should have Tamoxifen. If you don’t have hormone-receptive cancer, you’d end up with all the rubbish SEs of Tamoxifen and not a jot of improvement on your own personal prognosis.

I think you may have misinterpreted the “it’s not as bad as chemo” comments. I read them as being directed at the chemo ladies who have had a crap time with chemo and don’t need to get more crap that’s even worse than they’ve had already. Rads is still rubbish, as is the whole cancer thang.

Please do keep posting, you have as much right to use the forums as anyone else.