Knocked for six

Had lumpectomy,  sentinel node biopsy and 4 lymph nodes removed 9 March

I got my results 12 days ago , all good, nodes all clear (one margin close but nothing left to cut out so no 2nd surgery needed), drains a seroma, tells me I have mild lymphedema under my breast but nothing to worry about, should wear a tight sports bra to help …all understood and surgeon tells me next step is oncologist to discuss radiotherapy, gives me a prescription for Letrozole and off i go however out of the blue I get  asked back yesterday 

They tell me they’ve now sent my tumour for other tests, something called onxtype (?) Sorry if thats not the right spelling but loads if info was reeled off so i may have misheard . Theyvesent it to see if I should have chemo

During the past 3 months no one has ever mentioned chemo, it’s always been hormone therapy and radiotherapy I’m now on the ceiling with worry, concerns and all manner of questions, like why wasn’t this tested along with the other tests 6 weeks post surgery?

When I asked that yesterday I was told we discussed your case and think this additional test is needed to see if chemo is an option…

I’ve seen friends go through chemo,  it wasn’t nice, in fact it was bloody awful

And yet another waiting period before I find out/ move on…this waiting game is truly a mind game isn’t it!!

Does anyone have any useful links or information on what this latest test means and if chemo is really necessary?

Thank you

Hi Curlywurly,

Sorry to hear you’ve had this additional worry laid on you when you were recovering well from your surgery and getting ready to move on to next steps of treatment, especially as it came out of the blue. The difference between you do/ don’t/ might need chemo is huge, and what are routine decisions and announcements for the experts most definitely aren’t for us!

The test you are having is called the Oncotype test. Basically it looks at the genetic structure of tumour cells to determine their likely behaviour. This, together with other factors  is used to determine the benefits of chemotherapy for individual patients. It generates a score. For over-60s, it’s 25. It’s lower for under-60s. Someone else will know what it is. Over that score and you will likely benefit from chemo; under, you likely won’t. 

The test can be a ‘belt and braces’ recommendation for surgeons, and used in borderline cases where they need to be sure that chemo is given if required, but not unnecessarily. 

I’m sure others can expand on this. And it’s important to have a chat with one of your nurses or contact one from Breast Cancer Now.

I had the test, and know what you will be going through. Being thrown a curve ball that involves more waiting and the prospect of something you don’t want and never thought you would need is miserable. 

All good wishes.

Dunnock x