Chemotherapy delays


I have really struggled to tolerate chemotherapy started on EC May this year plan for 6 cycles every theee weeks. I was admitted same day with severe vomiting stayed in for four days then got sepsis in for 17 days on ivs and oxygen. So second treatment delayed by 6 weeks. Second EC (reduced dose and new anti sickness meds) tolerated ok third one same as first admitted for four days again. Team then decided to switch to paclitaxel weekly. Then needed picc line and basically this delayed treatment for 8 weeks with recovery time and waiting for line. Should have started last Friday but developed a clot in subclavian vein. Now on blood thinners and should start treatment this Friday. My question I guess is how effect will the chemo be with all the delays. I’m having chemo as my oncotype is 31 so this is preventative treatment. I so want to stop but feel I should continue but struggling to find out the benefits as so many delays? Am I putting myself through more treatment without the full benefits! Feel my oncologists don’t really listen I’m fully aware that I could put myself at risk if don’t carry on but with so may issues I’m at risk anyways. Just need a balanced decision that I sadly don’t feel I’m getting. Any advice would be great (know you can’t tell me what to do) would be good to know how effect chemo would be with the delays? 
many thanks 

Hi, I am having the same problems. Had first cycle of EC on 14th August, severe nausea and pain around PICC line which turned out to be infection. They also discovered a clot in subclavian vein and I was admitted which delayed second cycle by a week. Now 3rd cycle has been delayed as I have nausea, lightheaded, very breathless on exertion, low BP and overheating. I have no idea if this is due to chemo or the Dalteparin injections. Like you I worry that the delays are effecting the efficacy of the chemo.

Good luck in your journey

Hi crazycat

Thanks for posting.

It sounds like you’ve really been through a lot since your diagnosis and start of chemotherapy in May, so it’s totally understandable you and others like @Kazzan may question what benefit you will get from chemotherapy given the delays you’ve encountered so far.

The information and evidence we get about the use of treatments such as chemotherapy, are from research trials which look at treatments given to thousands of people based on particular time scales of cycles of treatment. Occasionally trials will look to discover whether treatment can be given over longer or shorter periods of time.  For example, giving paclitaxel weekly rather than three weekly.

However, establishing the change to the benefits of treatment as a consequence of delays is difficult, and relies on collecting information from fewer numbers of people who’ve had had this type, but very variable, experiences of delays to their treatment, rather than structured trials.

Because of this, it’s not possible to give accurate statistics on the effectiveness of treatments when someone experiences delays in the way you describe.

However, it’s important to be able to talk through your experience so far and how you feel about carrying on with treatment so you can make a balanced decision that you feel is right for you.

You might find it helpful to talk to someone else who has had a similar experience and been faced with this type of decision. Our Someone Like Me service can arrange for one of our volunteers to talk to you by email or telephone. Our volunteers have had a personal experience of breast cancer and are trained to provide support.

You can ring the Someone Like Me team on 0345 077 1893 or email them at so they can then match you to your volunteer.

Our Helpline team often speak to people about this type of decision, and although it’s not possible for us to tell anyone what’s best for them as you mention, the team have time to listen to your concerns and talk through your experience and thoughts to help you move forward.

Please do call our Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

If you would like a nurse to call you do complete this form . Ticking the box agreeing to a call back.

Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am -1pm on Saturday. Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.

Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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