Have I made the right decision?


I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 9th this year. I had a double mastectomy and all my lymph’s removed. The cancer was apparently mostly at stage 1 with few stage 2 cancer cells so is classed as stage 2. It was 9mm and had not invaded any of my lymph’s.
My onc had given me the decision to have chemo but said that it would have only given me a 1% increase of it not coming back and she thought that the benefits were not great enough but, if I wanted to throw everything at the cancer then I should. My tumour was hormone receptive so she has put me on tamoxafen and Zoladex. I didn’t take the chemo as I had lengthy discussions with my consultant who has been a god send and a couple of other doctors and they advised not to have chemo.
I am only 23 and was 22 when I was diagnosed so I am petrified of it coming back in the future as I got it so young! I would like to know if anybody else would have taken the chemo or not as I will feel guilty on myself and my family if it does come back and I haven’t thrown everything at it.


Hi Emily

First of all I want to say how very sorry I am that you have found yourself in this dreadful situation at such a young age. As for your decision with the chemo and whether to have it or not, you say you have had discussions with several doctors. Have they said why they feel it wouldnt be suitable? Is is that the side effects may outweigh the benefits You could always ask your oncologist to send you to a centre of excellence like the Marsden for another opinion. They would not mind at all and it would help you make your decision. There have been many women on the forum who have done so and the vast majority have been glad they did. Whatever you decide, you must never feel guilty for your choice as you will be making it with all the best information around and in these situations, there is rarely a clear cut answer.

I wish you the best of luck


Hi Emily

So sorry that you have been dx with BC - especially at sucha young age.

When I was dx I was told that chemo would up my chances by approx 1% and as they (the onc team) felt that the risks involved in chemo outweighed the benefits of 1% they decided not to offer chemo. I was slightly un-nerved about their decision at the start but they assured me that rads and tamoxifen would be sufficient protection … and looking at it from another angle if ( and I hope it is not a when) it does ever come back we still have chemo to fall back on as it were.

Good luck

Love Lilac

Hi Emily

I was dx with Invasive Ductal cancer grade 2. The tumour was 2cm. I was also 7/8 ER +. Chemo was not mentioned and I had rads and Tamoxifen. When I queried the chemo decision, I was told that it wasn’t necessary as I had clear nodes and no sign of spread. I now take the same view as Lilac in that, should it come back, I have chemo as an option to fall back on.


Thanks everybody I do think that i have made the right decision its sometimes doubt creeps in!

Take care.


The other thing to remember is that if you do not take chemo and if it does come back ,it may well have come back even with chemo.
My BC was 2 x grade 1 lumps and a area of a few cancer cells but I was not offered Chemo at all,I have accepted that my team do not think I need it.
I am so glad I never had to make the decision though.
Take care

The onc said that the tamoxafen and zoladex would have had the same effect of chemo in my case as they removed 100% of the tumour, I wish that they didnt give me the decision at the time and i still go to bed feeling like i should have had it sometimes. Also yes the benefits were not great enough from the chemo so they didnt push me, i think that the onc just wanted to safeguard herself because of my age.

Thank you everybody for your input, i feel better knowing that other people have not had chemo too, i always associated cancer with chemo and didnt ever think that you could bypass it and it made me feel quite alone.

Thank you everybody i hope that it all goes well for you.


I understand how you feel about bypassing chemo,after my results I almost felt a fraud (the only way I can describe how I felt) I also got annoyed at people who assume that you are all better and back to normal.I have still had cancer despite not needing chemo.I still have all the emotions that go with a cancer diagnosis.
I hope it gets easier for you (read your other thread) but it may be worth seeking out someone to chat to either at your hospital or on the helpline here.

My tumour was grade 1, stage 2, strongly er+. I had the same conversation with my onc. The benefits for me having chemo were only going to be 2-3%. I was 47 and premenopausal. I had zoladex for 2 years and am still on tamoxifen. After I’d made the decision both he and my breast surgeon were happy with it. Then a study came out that said research was showing that for women with my prognosis having zoladex and tamoxifen combined was as beneficial as having chemo and tamoxifen. (Exactly what your onc said). I still occasionally get the ‘what if?’ jitters but most of the time I know I made the right decision.
Take care