Starting AC Chemo?

Hi All
My dx was confirmed on 29 January - Grade 3 BC. I had a SNB on 2 Feb, and am starting chemo tomorrow. Things are moving so quick, but I guess that’s good. It’s just a bit of a blur though! I was told I’d need chemo either way, because of my age (37), size and grade of cancer, so got the choice of whether to do it before or after surgery. Chose to do chemo first on the advice of the professionals around me, and have gathered lots of info from them too. Also picked up some great tips on preparation for chemo from the forums here - so thanks for that. But I notice that others seem to be on different drugs - FEC etc. Is anyone else out there on AC (Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide), and able to tell me what I might expect? Thanks,

Hi Ax,

I was diagnosed last June with a Grade 2 tumour. I, too, had chemo before surgery, and started with two cycles of AC before I was switched to Taxotere. The AC wasn’t too bad for me - this is what happened in some detail:

Day 1: Got AC late morning and was feeling a bit queasy by mid-afternoon. Anti-sickness medication worked well, though, and prevented me from feeling really lousy - I was able to eat dinner on the first day.

Days 2/3: Stayed in bed for most of the day, because I felt queasy, woozy and weak. Still able to eat 3 meals a day and usually went downstairs for dinner.

Days 4-6: Up and about, and feeling more or less okay. Still eating normally, but needing lots of rest and early nights. Taste disruption usually started around day 5 and lasted a couple of days before gradually returning to normal. However, the taste disruption wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t eat normally (unlike Taxotere, but we won’t go there…)

Days 7/8: I usualy got a sudden dip here, I think because my blood counts were at their lowest. I’d feel very weak, wobbly, sick and headachy for around a day, and then I’d be fine again.

I’d go back to work a couple of days after this.

If you want any more info, just ask. :slight_smile:


Thanks Yvonne, that’s really helpful. I think my fear is mainly around not knowing what to expect, and whilst I realise we might all react differently, it’s really good to hear how others got on - thanks. There don’t seem to be that many folk on the AC based upon the posts I’ve seen so far? If you don’t mind me asking, why did you get switched from AC, or was it always the plan to just have two cycles? Thanks again,

Hi Ax,

The full plan was 4 AC then 4 Taxotere, the aim being to shrink my lump (roughly 4cm) in order to make surgery easier. I was then to have a mastectomy and finish off with radiotherapy and tamoxifen.

However, after 2 AC, the general consensus was that the lump hadn’t shrunk at all, so the decision was made to give up on the AC and switch to Taxotere. That worked very well, but because I started getting peripheral neuropathy, we stopped after 3 cycles. I think they figured I’d had enough Taxotere by then to do a fair amount of good, but any more was likely to do me more damage than good.

After that, I had the mastectomy, started on tamoxifen, and just recently have started radiotherapy.

I do wonder why I was prescribed AC, when the majority of people seem to get FEC. I know the two regimes are very similar, but I don’t know how they choose between the two. Have you had any info about this?


Hi Yvonne,

I’m not too sure why I am getting AC; but I do know my plan is now 6 * AC. Had I had a hormone receptive (?) cancer, I would have several AC then several Taxotere, but as mine is triple negative, it will be all AC, provided it shows a difference. Not sure why most get FEC.
Hope you’re getting on well - you’ve been through a fair bit?

Didn’t actually get my first chemo on Thursday - managed to black out and throw up after having worn cold cap for an hour, and having drip in (not sure if I had a bug, or if just build up of nerves - didn’t feel overly stressed but who knows?). What a drama queen :frowning:
They deferred until Tuesday incase I had infection and chemo hit me hard. But now I’m just wishing the fight had already started - my breast feels swollen and there feels like two lumps now - but not sure if this is after effects of SNB, imagination, or for real?! Think that may be my challenge throughout - an overactive mind/imagination.

Roll on Tuesday (without the cold cap this time)!! :slight_smile:
Thanks again for your help,

Hi Ax,

Just wanted to wish you all the best for tomorrow. Personally, I was so scared and nervous about getting chemo that I couldn’t face the additional stress of the cold cap, so never gave it a try - so good on you for at least trying it! I expect things will go much more smoothly for you tomorrow. You’ve been there once so you already know what to expect, and even if you weren’t feeling stressed the first time, you probably were.

You asked how I am - well, I’ve certainly had my ups and downs, but at the moment, everything is just fine. I’ve done the hard stuff (chemo and surgery), and so far, the radiotherapy is a doddle. In fact, in two weeks I’ll have finished all my treatments. Whoopee!


Hi Ax

I started AC today. I have 4 AC followed by 4 Taxol to undergo, after surgery last month. So far so good, not feeling too bad (except can’t sleep now!)

Good luck for today.


Hi Ladies

Thanks for your messages of support. I actually did it! I got my first chemo today, and feel pretty much ok. Absolutely delighted that the fight against big C has started (I have surgery after chemo), and only really been quite tired, so had a few hours kip in the evening. So far so good.

Yvonne, that’s fantastic that you’re nearly at the end of the treatment road; I’m sure it’s been a slog, but two weeks - that’s touching distance!! Well done you.

I asked about AC today, but my BCN said that AC was standard (implication was for pre surgery chemo, although she said it’s often used post surgery too.) So I’m not sure why so many have FEC, although again she implied that this just added on the F chemical, so the two regimes are maybe even closer than I thought? She also said AC was 70% effective, so that sounds positive. But she did also say that choice of drugs depends on all other factors too - size, grade etc. Don’t know if this helps shed any light for you?

Ann, it sounds as though we’ll be starting this chemo journey together - although I’m due for 6 AC as I’m triple negative, unless they find after number 3 that it’s not having effect - fingers crossed for us both eh?

Take care, and thanks again for your replies ladies, much appreciate the support,