How to make my doctor consider other options ?!

Hi. was diagnosed just recently.

Starting my Chemo treatment tomorrow. My physician wants me to take Taxol.


I have chatted with another doctor who said that Taxotere is also a common drug to be used. I went back to my doctor and she was very unhappy with the fact I talked to other doctors. But on the other hand - she told me that both drugs are fine and its a “trial and error” process where we need to find to which drug my tumors reacts better.

By the way - I didn’t pay anything to the other doctor… I am on this app called BELONG for cancer patients. which is pretty cool.


Anyhow - I don’t like the fact that its a “trial and error”… but seems like in many other cases its how things are. Starting with Chemo X… not responding ? OK. Lets go to Chemo Y… but time is the one resource I assume I don’t have enough of…


How do you make a decision here ? How can I be sure my physician is doing the extra mile for me and not just following the protocol ?


Thank you all.



Hi Emma, sorry you are so concerned with the dilemma you’re facing here, but everyone reacts so differently to chemo, I feel there has to be some degree of trial and error with everyone.

For example, I made a friend during chemo, we both started at the same time and were both given the same regimen of FEC-Taxotere. However by the time we got to Tax, she had a terrible allergic reaction whereas I was fine. Thus she was changed over to paclitaxol which I think is the same as the taxol you mention, and she was okay with this.

Cancer, unfortunately , is not an exact science, and I wish you all the best for your decision with your chemo,  try and trust your oncologist as it’s a minefield out there.


Love, Trudy xx

Hey Trudy.


Thank you so much. 


I consider myself very pragmatic. When I shop for a TV, I consult with people who knows somthing about TVs before I pick a brand and a model. Same goes for buying a car or a house. But when your life is on stake - why should we trust the first person we meet ? especially when we did not pick him/her. He/she was picked for us.


I dont think that blindly trust your oncologist is a smart move. in every medical school class there is the one who excel and the one who was more lazy and got the lowest grades. You dont know who is your oncologist. You must question them in every step of the way to make sure they make the right decesion for you. 


I lost my mom to lung cancer.

Today, 3 years later I know for sure we could have done better. Just because the doctor followed the “Protocol”. She was covered. she did things by the book. 

My mom had a stage 4 lung cancer. there is a 95% chance the doctor would not see her in a 2 year period. Most doctors will not go the extra mile for all their patients for a small chance of helping one of them. So most of them are doing Zero effort to do anything that is not in the protocol.


I dont want to end up like this. Those who beat the statistics are those who challanged the system. and hell yeah I am going to challange it. Its my life after all.


Thats why I subscribe to all those sources… where I get tomorrows headlines… not the old news that my doctor knows by heart.


Thank you for your kindness :) 



Hi Emma what did you actually Google for the belong site as I’d like to have a look at it. I’m grade 3 tnbc with node involvement. I had right mastectomy 9th October and have finished FEC chemo and start Docetaxel tomorrow  (I’m dreading it ).when chemo is over I have to have node clearance and then 15 radiotherapy sessions. I’d really like to know if the clearance is necessary seeing as I had a clear ct scan 2 days before I started chemo.Im like you and feel I want to question everything and want to know the experts are doing all they can for me and not just follow a protocol .xxx 

Emma1978, I find you comment “Most doctors will not go the extra mile for all their patients for a small chance of helping one of them. So most of them are doing Zero effort to do anything that is not in the protocol.” quite extraordinary; if that is how you feel, you are going find accepting their advice and treatment very difficult!



I will continue to put my trust in my doctors, rather that an ‘App’ any day of the week! I use this site for help and support. I do read as much as possible, knowledge is power, after all and I like to have an idea of what any treatment entails so I can have a well informed discussion with my doctors.


I take it you are in the US? Things in the medical world are very different over here in the UK of course. Our doctors are well trained but most work within our National Health Service, a service free to its patients at the point of delivery. They have a great many financial constraints to work within but the vast majority of them are hard working, dedicated and more than willing to go the extra mile and do the very best for their patients.


I wish you all the best for your future treatment and a successful outcome, but I have to say; your cynical attitude towards medical professions while preferring advice from god-knows-who on an app, is going to make a very difficult period of your life even tougher!



Emma I totally understand your reasons for wanting to question everything. I’m not aware of any UK cancer centres, its your local NHS (who I personally cannot fault regarding my own situation) or going private through a company such as BUPA. You do say you cannot afford the cost of travelling to one - I would have thought if any centre existed, they would be private and you would have to pay for their services anyway. As Blossom has said, the consultants who work privately who have trained in the UK will have gone to the same medical schools as the NHS consultants and very often work for both NHS and privately. So how would you know if their degrees were First Class or 3rds? On top of that they have specialised in their areas with further training etc etc. It really is a mine field out there - how would you know which drug particularly suited your cancer under your conditions? How do you trust what a medic who writes for an App, over a medic who works for the NHS and also has a private practice, or one who just works for the NHS? Which one has the most experience working with and successfully treating the most diverse group of women with breast cancer?
You have made me think - but I personally am able to put my trust in my oncologist who is NHS and may or may not also work privately.
I did Google the 2 drugs that you mentioned and interestingly an article from a cancer research organisation in America actually indicated a preference for the drug you had been offered.
Good luck with your journey, I hope it all works out well for you. Xx