Oncologist woes

I am really struggling with an inflexible oncologist! Any ideas how to deal with this (other than seeking a second opinion, which I am already doing)?

I was diagnosed a month ago with a new primary breast cancer, having had another one almost three years ago. The new one is not a recurrence. Biology is ER- HER2+ Grade 3 10mm. I had a mastectomy 5 days after diagnosis and lymph nodes are clear. However because it is high grade and HER2+, my oncologist wanted a conversation about chemo + herceptin. His recommendation was weekly paclitaxol for 12 weeks + herceptin.

Unfortunately I am on another drug for something completely unrelated which has a severe contraindication with paclitaxol (which rather alarmingly he was unaware of). On the NICE website, it states that the manufacturer advises against mixing the drugs. I have been on this drug for many years and coming off it is a major undertaking, with significant risks in doing so.

Despite this, my oncologist is offering no other options. I have suggested things, based on the limited knowledge I have and / or can glean from reputable websites (e.g. NICE). I have stressed to him that I am feeling very scared in this situation and have nigh on begged him to try to think of other options - my thinking being that, even if they are not as effective as his recommended route, they would be better than no further treatment at all. But he is not budging.

Has anyone else faced a similarly inmoveable oncologist? How did you deal with it?

Rest assured I really respect his expertise, but he is not acknowledging the very real concerns I have about the contraindication between these two drugs.

Frustrated …


What a horrid situation to be in, Rosie. I have an intractable oncologist, after seeing two other very amenable ones during different stages of treatment. She is very solution-focused - pack you off for an MRI, refer you to another specialist - when I just want her to acknowledge my situation. She doesn’t actively listen, and your oncologist seems to be the same.

Does your medication clash with docetaxel? I believe either can be used with certain cancers but they are the same family so maybe contraindications will be there too. It’s all I can think of. Have you spoken to one of the nurses on the number above? They may be able to help.

I hope you find a solution quickly. Best wishes

Jan x


Find another oncologist. This is your life. Don’t get fobbed off.

Hope you manage to sort it x