Lump not shrinking after 7 chemo sessions (ECT-HP)

Hello everyone,

This is my first post and I’m feeling really down.

My story so far: I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in May 2020 (HER2+, ER/PR-). I started chemo the following June. The plan was to have 4 sessions of EC (done) followed by 4 sessions of THP (I’ve done 3, final one is tomorrow). Then lumpectomy, radiotherapy, and further sessions of HP until August 2021.

Why I worry: at time of diagnosis my lump was 28mm. After 7 sessions it has only shrunk by 2mm… so pretty much nothing. I feel very upset; I had read that many women who take docetaxel, herceptin and pertuzumab experience a significant reduction in the size of their lump. Not for me. I know I should feel at least happy about the fact the tumour isn’t growing anymore, but I just feel scared for the future.

I saw one of the oncologists today and they say it’s worth having that last round of THP. I understand that if the lump hasn’t shrunk it can either mean a) that it’s made of cells debris (so good) or b) it has ‘residual illness’ inside (not good). This of course I won’t know until I have surgery and get the histology report.

I suppose my question is; has any one of you experienced something similar (cancer left after neo-adjuvant therapy), had a lumpectomy and remained cancer free since? (I know the point of surgery is to remove that residual lump/cancer but what about cancer cells that *could* have spread and escaped surgery…).

Thank you for all your thoughts x

Hi Spoutnik,

Thank you for sharing your story and welcome to The Forum.  

Sorry to see no one has responded to this post yet, I’m sure someone will be along shortly to continue the conversation. While you wait, you might like to post this message on the Ask Our Nurses board, where a nurse will reply directly to it.

Sorry to read that you’re going through a scary and upsetting time. Please know we are here for you. You can ring our specialist nurses on 0808 800 6000. They can provide clinical information as well as a listening ear. 

Best wishes,


Hi Spoutnik,

Maybe you will be switched from HP onto Kadcyla if residual disease found during surgery or stay on HP.  Please read the below thread.

Going through breast cancer treatment -> Targeted therapies -> Kadcyla Query