Second or Third generation chemo?? I am confused..

I am currently recovering after reconstructive surgery (I had an axilla clearance and Lat Dorsi mini flap operation on 26th July).I had WLE on 5th July. THe ops went well but I’m in quite a lot of pain and discomfort. Only to be expected, I guess.
Anyway when the BCN came round yesterday to drain my back (I’m producing serum like there is no tomorrow) she left some information leaflets about chemo. I originally thought I could get away with just radio, having a Grade 1 kind of cancer, but my first op revealed one of my lymphnodes was affected plus the tumor was on the largish size (3.7 mm.).I have been led to believe that chemo will be the recommended course of action. I am of course TERRIFIED about the prospect!
Anyway the nurse told me you can apparently choose between a second or third generation type of chemo. EH? I thought I was choosing drugs not an Iphone!
Seriosly can anyone enlighten me?I understand the third generation chemo is more powerful but I don’t seem to be able to find any useful information about it on the net.
To be truthful when I looked at my prediction for life expectancy after ten years I realized that chemo would only add an extra 6% to the overall survival rate (up from 78% to 84%). One wonders whether it is actually worth it.Of course if that’s the recommendation of the oncologist I will do it but I can’t help but wondering whether anyone has taken the conscious decision to dispense with the chemo.
Any information gratefully received! :slight_smile:

Hi there - sorry you’ve joine dth eclub. I don’t think anyone can tell you what to do but if I were in your circumstances I’d take anything and everything that was offered! I actually told my onc if she didn’t offer me chemo I’d have hysteria - slightly different having 15/20 nodes affected tho so there wasn’t any question.

As to 2nd/3rd generation I’ve not a clue - like a lot of ladies here I had FEC-T which is a cocktail of 3 lovely drugs for FEC and taxotere for T. It’s certainly no bed of roses but it’s do-able, as many on here will testify.

I think I’d be thinking ‘if I get a recurrence in x years, how will I feel if I don’t have the chemo?’.

Good luck whatever you decide


I agree, no idea what 2nd and 3rd generation chemo is. The norm is FEC-T for either 6 or 8 doses.

I was given the choice of chemo or no chemo, I only took a nano second to say chemo please, as I want to fight this with as much as I can. Don’t want to look back later and say what if.

It is do-able, not pleasant but not that bad


Cmf Chemo 1st gen, fec 2nd gen, 3rd generation taxanes, Chemo can be a mix of all, for nodes positive the regime is often fec/tax. I did fec and tax-c. You can log into adjuvant online, there is info on this subject. Your onc will explain why and what Chemo will be best for you. Good luck!

Hi Ladies

I am on TAC (docetaxel which is taxatore, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide). I was advised that this is 3rd generation chemo. I had a WLE with clear margins and clear lymph nodes however I am triple negative so I won’t get any of the drugs afterwards like the positive ladies get although there could be a trial I could go on next year. My Onc wanted me to have TAC to reduce any further chance of it recurring although he said his fellow oncologist would probably have offered me 3 FEC and 3 TAX. I think it boils down individual Onc and your pathology report. TAC is hard but for me I want to have the one which reduces more chances of it not coming back even is this is only a few %, you do what you can. I thought the Onc made the decision for you, I wasn’t given any options, just told what I was going on. Lulu60, I am sure you will be having an appt with your Onc before your chemo starts and he/she will recommend the right one for you.

I have had my 3rd chemo today, half way there at last! Feel okay at the moment but I know that will change come the weekend.

Take care everyone.

Amanda xx

Hi Lulu

I made a conscious decision not to have chemotherapy 5.5 years ago, age 32, 7mm cancer, grade 2, no sign of spread to nodes or vascular invasion.

The statistical benefit given to me was to add less than 1% to my already 93% chance of being alive and cancer-free in 10 years.

I now have a recurrence. BUT, I do not for a moment think if I’d had the chemotherapy, I’d be cancer-free now. It took more than 5 years and 2 pregnancies to grow again, and the cancer has to be growing for the chemotherapy to work. I wouldn’t do anything differently.

It is a personal decision. Personally, now I have a family, I would take the chemotherapy and the added 6% chance of being here and healthy in 10 years. I’ve been given a 10-15% benefit with a combo of 2nd and 3rd generation drugs: 4x AC and 4xTAX (the more nodes, the bigger the advantage). There are some studies on taxanes which show them to give a significant increase in life-expectancy for people with secondaries, and better chance of no recurrence among women with node-involvement.

Taxanes are harder, going by the board, but more effective.

Good luck with your decision. It is a hard one when faced with the SEs. I’m only one cycle in and it’s been tough, but I keep telling myself the tougher on me, the tougher on the cancer. xxxx Jane

I was initially due to have 6 x Doxetaxol, but after discussion with my onc and a second opinion it was agreed to go with 3 FEC and 3 TAX. I don’t think there is a correct answer in many cases - it’s a judgement call. It was explained to me than the FEC would be better at preventing a recurrence of the lump, but the TAX would be better at preventing spread (I had a bone met at dx). So in the end we decided to go for both!

Lulu I am sure there will be more discussions before your treatment starts, and your BCN should be able to explain anything to you - it’s quite normal to come away from consultations with more questions than answers. And you always have the option of a second opinion if you are not convinced.

finty xx

I had 4xfec and 4x taxotere so a mix of 2nd and 3rd generation chemo.With tnbc both are advised as we have so few options if there is recurrence or spread.

Hello Tina 45

How do we get into adjuvant online, I tried once but looked as if it was for professionals and needed a log in etc ? Thanks Kirsty

Hi Kirsty, your right adjuvent online is for professionals,you just pretend lol.I was a bit worried about going on there but I went on it 2 years ago and haven’t been told off yet lol

Best wishes Mel xx