grade 2 breast cancer at 26

Hi, if there is anyone out there who is of similar situation to me then please reply as im very confused.
I am 26 years of age and 4 weeks ago i was diagnoised with grade 2 breast cancer. i had the lump removed along with the first 2 lymph nodes. my results came back very postive and that i would only need radiotherapy. however my oncologist thinks i should have chemotherapy mainly because of my age. Im not sure what to do.


Bet you are feeling crp at the moment, this is all so unfair. I felt young to have this at 36 and have been kicking and screaming about it, but 26 is even more ridiculously perverse.

My cancer was 17mm in size and grade 3. I have had the lump removed and then need to have radiotherapy to make the operation as successful as a mastectomy would have been. It does not seem to have spread to my lymph nodes according to the tests they did after my sentinel node biopsy.

My oncologist has advised me to have chemo and I start on Thusrday. He told me this was because with young women they go with the “throw the kitchen sink at it” approach to treating the cancer and for me, if theres something out there that could give me even the tiniest extra chance of this cancer not reappearing, then i am happy to go through the 6 cycles of chemo to help myself.

My mum looks at it on the basis that the operation was sending in the crack commandos to take out the main bad guys and that the chemo is about sending in the army to track down and kill any of the little buggers that may have escaped.

It is a decision for you to take, and it sounds like you need your breast care nurse to talk it through with you again, and maybe you could call the helpline on this site- they were great with me when i called for advice. The only other thing I would raise is the question of fertlity. Your oncologist should have mentioned this to you, and its covered in one of the booklets that breast cancer care have.

Hope this helps

I am so sorry to hear your news, I know how hard it is to wrap your head around. I found my lump the day after my 29th. I had a 3cm grade 3 tripple negative taken out in Jan. I was advised to have chemo but I can’t be treated with drugs afterwards. The way I see it is that whatever extra help it gives to make sure it’s all gone is worth it.

It must be a hard decision to make but I think if it gives even the smallest better chance of getting rid of it I would take it. I think as younger women they want to throw all the treatment they can with us.

I am currently about to go into my 4th chemo and I know it’s different for everyone but I have been very lucky with my side effects. My nurse said in a way it’s good to be young because we can be in better shape to deal with the chemo. My antisickness meds work really well and I was only a bit sick on the first one. I have used the cold cap which has meant I still have my hair. The one thing I will say is the tiredness is hard to deal with. I have a very active job and I like to go out to play, gigs, pub, etc and it’s hard when even a walk to the shops can knock you out in the first week.

I have kept working through it but I do take a week off after each chemo. I know that’s not for everyone but it helps to distact me and I have been able to do shorter hours and I have a very understanding team.

I am not saying it’s not hard because it is and the emotional side of it can be a struggle when you just feel better from one the next one is coming. But I can honestly say now I am looking at number 4 I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I understand your head must be all over the place at the moment, all the decision to be made, when you just want it to all go away. But you can do this, there are loads of people on here to offer support.

I wish you all the best, let us know what you decide and if you have more questions just ask.



I am so sorry you are having to deal with this disease at such a young age. It is rubbish at any age - but 26 is really unfair.

Has your oncologist given you any other reason why he is recommending chemotherapy? Even if your nodes are negative you may have evidence of LVI (lympho-vascular invasion). Women can still go on to develop mets even with negative nodes - it is thought that the cells metastasize via the bloodstream. If there is evidence of LVI then I would definitely consider chemotherapy. Chemo is not a guarantee of anything but it should reduce your risk of recurrence. If you are ER+ you may actually get greater risk reudction from the hormone treatment.

The greater our risk of recurrence the greater the percentage gained from having chemotherapy. If your recurrence risk is very small (my onc says 7% is his cut off point) then chemo might do you more harm than good as it carries its own risks. Get him to do the Adjuvant Online statistics - they have age adjusted risk measurements.

Best of luck with everything.

Dear bluesmurf,

I am pleased to see you have already had some replies from other forum members. Just to emphasise what Tors suggested about the Breast Cancer Care Helpline- do give them a call for information and support. They are open Monday to Friday 9.00am-5.00pm and on Saturdays from 9.00am-2.00pm. The number is 0808 800 6000.

Very best wishes

BCC Facilitator

hello blues im on chemo my self at the min i say do and have evrythnik you can to live a long a happy life good luck hun hope all works out well for you im grade 3 stage 2 but no lymph nodes and my lump 5cm. feel free to pm me if you need to talk im only a few years older then you and its alway nice to talk to people at the same age and thats in the same boat again take care hun x x x x billiegirl

Hi bluesmurf,

I really feel for you. I was dx last June at the age of 24! (don’t mean to have an age competition here!!!) It’s such a shock to get it at such a young age. Even the specialist commented after the results came back: “After initial examination, your lump looks like cancer, feels like cancer, but I can’t say it without the test results because you are so young!” Wow, that just made my heart sunk!

I think the chemo is often offered because of lymph nodes involvement. You only said 2 were removed, were there any signs of cancer in them? Of course, age is also a factor. My situation is a bit different because I wasn’t even offered operation, went to chemo straight away because “I didn’t have any choice”. Anyway, speak to your oncologist, breast care nurse and ask questions - good to write them down and bring some one with you. If you have to have chemo, it’s certainly doable.

Take care… I’ll be thinking about you… please let us know how you’ve got on and anything else we might be able to help.