Refusing treatment!

Not wishing to upset anyone, but I could really do with some advice as I’m in a real quandry as to what to do. I realise we are all different as are the cancers.

Has anyone decided to forego either radiotherapy or tamoxifen - or even both of them?
My lovely surgeon has recommended tamoxifen and radiotherapy. So here is my dilemma…. When my surgeon put my details in to NHS Predict (I am 65), the advantages of tamoxifen was 3.5% less chance of reoccurring compared with 7% without tamoxifen, therefore a benefit of 3.5% overall with tamoxifen.

Similarly the advantages of radiotherapy was 1% chance of reoccurring compared with 4% without radiotherapy, and therefore a benefit of 3% overall with radiotherapy

My 8mm cancer was found in a scan of my left breast. After biopsy it was found to be stage 1, grade 1, slow growing, ER positive and HER2 negative. I had a lumpectomy and SNB. My margins were found to be clear and also the nodes were clear, so cause for big relief.

If the cancer had been higher grade, larger and faster growing and spread then it would be a different story, I wouldn’t need to ask about this as the percentages would likely be higher for having tamoxifen and radiotherapy.

My worries are about all the long term side affects, particularly surrounding radiotherapy, compared with the fairly low reoccurrence percentage decrease that I would receive from radiotherapy with tamoxifen. I’m not sure the risks outweigh the benefits, in my particular case is it a case of a sledgehammer to crack a nut!

I would love to hear if anyone else has had this dilema with low percetages?

Also posted this in the Radiotherapy thread. Thanks everyone.


Hi Jane - it really is a difficult one. I chose not to have chemotherapy because it would only be a 4% benefit & I thought it wasn’t worth the possible side effects but I wasn’t given any statistics re radiotherapy or the hormone treatment. As I’d ‘refused’ chemotherapy I never actually thought about refusing radiotherapy & felt happier with it as it was a more targeted treatment. And I didn’t refuse the hormone treatment as my cancer was 8/8 receptive to oestrogen. But as you say we are all different. I had to get my head around how I would feel if the cancer came back & I hadn’t had chemotherapy but then I knew I could have had it & it still could have come back. Give yourself time - I presume you are being given time to decide - but at the end of the day it has to be your decision one you feel comfortable with. I certainly would never tell anyone what to do. I know this probably hasn’t helped, I hope you get a lot of opinions that might help you with your decision. Wishing you all the best with whatever you decide xx

Hi Anita - thanks for your reply and your kind wishes. It’s always good to hear others’ experiences even though we are all different. My surgeon told me the benefits of Tamoxifen would, overall, be about 3.5% which considering some of the side affects seems a bit on the low side. It seems to me to be a balancing act between the advantages and disadvantages and the difficulty is which side to come down on! It certainly helps hearing how other people have made their decisions. Jane xx