Chemo response

Don’t know where to put this topic but here goes. I finished chemo (3 FEC and 3 Docetaxel) in March pre MX and path report after MX (in April) said I had a “significant response” and on a scale of 6 the response was 3. No one explained this to me, except that the onc said “it’s a glass half full or half empty situation”. They told me to have a partial response is very common and a complete response more uncommon. They declared the chemo successfull as acc to scans pre MX the breast tissue looked a lot better (had IBC). 7 nodes were affected but there was not a lot of cancer cells in the nodes and they were all killed off. My tumour was 7cm big and chemo killed half the cancer cells in there (grade 2).

I understand that a good response is very important, so I wonder now is my response good enough??

Thanks xx


Aaaw honey, I don’t know the answer - just know that I lie awake thinking about my pathology report sometimes!!

Are you ER+? Of ER+ patients very few have a complete pathological response (about 4% in a clinical study I read) - it is much higher in triple negative patients (about half in the same study). Most women I’ve met who had neoadjuvant chemo and big lumps had a similar response to you. Some much less. I have only met one who had massive shrinkage and she was TN. Mine went to just under half, so I am in a similar position. What I tell myself as I lie awake is that if it managed to kill all of those zillions of bad cells on the outside of the tumour, then it will have blasted any lone stragglers that had escaped into the lymph or blood system.

Why don’t you try calling the helpline and chat to them?



The question of response/non response is something I have raised a number of times and indeed there is a thread somewhere on here about this perplexing issue.
My own examples is this: Last week (following 3x EC and 3 TAX) My response was declare ‘disappointing’ by the onc on reviewing the MRI’s.
However, Tues of this week I saw the onco plastic surgeon who declared my response to chemo to be ‘very very’ good!
She explained that sometimes the MRI and the actual physical presentations (ie looking/feeling the breast) do not always correlate.
For me, on examination she thought the response was very marked and was pleased. But you can imagine, this is a difficult thing to get my head around. I thought I had finished my last TAX but may have to have 2 more. (8 in total) This will be decided tomorrow.

As Sandytoes said I do think that a partial response is much much more common than a complete pathological response and if you can find the thread you will see that a number of women report this too.
I think what is difficult for us as patients is trying to understand how they measure it and how to cope with the anomolies that this throws up. - I try not to stress bout it (have not the emotional energy) but of course I wonder too if my response is ‘good enough’
I do hope this helps to highlight that you are not alone in this issue, and those of us who are a bit ‘non-responsive’ share your upset too.

WS xx

So strange this has been bumped … I had meeting with my onc on tuesday before my last chemo - Tax on wednesday, I didnt want to ask prognosis as really dont want to be that aware, head in sand I know, but what I did ask was with my grade 3 cancer 3cm lump and 3/20 nodes affected, after Lumpectomy, Node clearance, and 3 x fec , 3 x Tax chemo regime how had the treatment affected the percentage of my cancer returning, He went onto a american site that have done trials/surveys and apparently with my type/grade etc my percentage has risen from without all the above being 40% within 2 years and 50% within 5 - To an impressive 70% succcess of it not returning, I am under the care of the Royal Marsden and am sure they would not delve into anything that was not purely legitamate and used by all other cancer care hospitals etc , I still have 4 weeks of rads to go but this has helped give me a little peace of mind as I was very aware of return and actually getting quite het up about it which is why I asked
Now I am very happy that I did , and was quite shocked at the difference I was thinking anything over 55% is a bonus, so I am going to keep with this and not probe any further, Ok I could be one of the bloody unluck 30% that it does return to but I could also have a car crash, be hit by a car or lightening etc etc…
Good luck, love & Vibes to all you lovely ladies xx

Thanks girls for the answers. I have spoken to the helpline about it a couple of weeks ago and that helped me so much. It just resurfaced again as someone from the forum I know had a complete response. I’m indeed ER+ (4/8) and also HER2 +++.

thanks, feel better again :slight_smile: