Steroids/injections/heart scan

Hello all,

I am due to start chemo this Friday, there are just a few things I am unclear about:

Does everyone have steroids?

I have not been told I have to have a heart scan before I start chemo. are we supposed to have one?

The injections I have read about. people do it themselves or a nurse.What are they for?


hi wintersocks,
you have a heart if you are having herceptin you have they every three months, to make sure your heart is pumping prperly, because herceptin can damage your heart+striods you are giving to take for three days on the day you have your chemo thats for the side affects of the chemo i hope this answers you quesion .
good luck with your treatment
lorraine x

i honestly dont know about any injections you have to have though.

Neupogen&Neulasta (G-CFS) Injections are not routinely prescribed on the NHS for chemo induced neutropenia. Should you need them you may have the choice of being taught how to self administer or have the District Nurses come out for you. Heart scans are not usually done unless you are having herceptin. Steriods are a vital part of chemo and have different functions. The Macmillan website explains it well:

Hi, Please don’t worry… I had an echocardiograph ( think I have spelt it correctly) just incase it was needed - it’s a doddle…you just lie on a bed and a lady takes an ultrasound of your heart working…steriods - well, depending on the type of chemo you are given you may need steriods. My only7 advice is…lactulose and prunes!!! you’ll soon find out why!xxxxxx

Hello all,

Horsie5050, I think I know where you are going with that one and I will heed your advice!

Tina46, Great, thanks for all info. I have clicked on the link you sent and it says page unavailable, I will try later in the week.
your explanation about those injections has clarified things for me and I understand they are not routine.

Steroids - maybe we don’t all get them too. I think it sounds like it depends on a number of factors.

I cannot bring myself to talk to the BCN or the helpline here, I would rather find out from ladies who are going thru the same thing, somehow it is less frightening.

I am not aware at this point the chemo I am having, I have a print out from the MacMillan Unit but it is indecipherable (SP?)

I still do not know what diagnosis I have as read the report hurriedly, but put it back in the envelope as it made me feel ill, I think it says Stage 2, I know I have at least 1 node that has cancer in it.

I have had an MRI and CT, but again I know nothing of them. I feel very low most of the time and still shocked, especially as this breast has been a problem for years fibreadenoma removal, and previous biopsies reported as normal breast tissue.

Thanks everyone

Hello wintersocks

Carolyn popping in from March chemo where we’ve spoken before. Just keep asking any questions you want that’s what we all do. Like someone said the scan will be if your going in Herceptin. The steroids are prescribed differently for each health authority, mine does give them but only for 3 days and I think this is to help your body fight the nasties. As for injections each case is different so you’ll need to ask when you go Friday. Try not to worry too much as so many wise ladies have said this is all doable, and if it keeps this horrible thing at bay then it can only be worth it in the long run.

Love Carolyn xxx

Duplicate post removed.

Hi Wintersocks

As long as you trust your team, there’s no need for you to ask anything - just do what they tell you!

I’m sure you’ll find that everyone is lovely and will do their best to put you at ease. They will explain what’s happening and give you all the steroids and anti-sickness meds you should need - along with instructions.

If you think you might be freaked out by it all, take someone with you who can be your ears and take note of all the good advice you will be given.

Good luck

I am not on herceptin but was given a muga scan (heart scan) because I was at the magical age of 55 - if I had been younger I wouldn’t have been given one. I had the neulasta jab after each chemo - it was to boost the production of white blood cells. Caused a lot of leg ache - bit like growing pains - for a couple of days afterwards.

The chemo you have might be FEC -T, which is often used for cancers that have affected a node. This means you’ll have 3or perhaps 4 rounds of FEC, which is a combination of three anti-cancer drugs. Usually administered at 3-weekly intervals. This combination usually results in hair loss, but some people use the cold cap to try to prevent that. Not all units offer it though so you’d have to ask. If it’s something you’re thinking about there are threads on here that talk about it.

After you’ve had FEC you are likely to have a further 3 or 4 rounds of Tax, short for Docetaxel, another anti-cancer drug that is usually only offered for affected nodes.

Your own regime may well be different but I’ve described the most common one. Usually 3 + 3 but some oncs give 4 + 4, and some do the Tax bit as 12 weekly doses but with the same total.

If you want to read about FEC and Tax there are some very good leaflets on here and on Macmillan. I know you’re not too keen on looking too closely but the info is there when you’re ready.

Steroids are given with FEC to help with the nausea and are essential either Tax to prevent allergic reactions. As they’re not doing a scan of your heart it’s likely you won’t be having Herceptin but you’ll need to look at your report to confirm that. You’ll see something about HER2. If that’s negative you won’t need Herceptin.

Ask any questions you like.


Hi All,

Thank-you for your prompt response you are all amazing. I feel that people on here are looking out for me. That’s such a nice thought.

Carolyn, I don’t think I am having Herceptin as no one has suggested a heart scan,

Dj007, - your thoughts on trusting my team, are spot on and I do feel I trust them. The onc was really good and sat on the floor next to me when I felt utterly overwhelmed! How many docs do that?

Chocciemuffin, - Your knowledge is amazing!! I had just had a peek at the chemo timetable and under Event it says: (for 3 sessions) B EC 3W SC 4h. - I have no idea what that means, but I do know for def my hair will come out as I have been told that.

I understand that following this I have to have 3 more sessions,
they do want to try to shrink the lump 1st.

I hope you don’t mind me asking these questions of you all. I do feel safer knowing it is from people who are going through the same thing.

Thank you all!! WS

Hi Wintersocks,
I had to have an echocardiogram before I started chemo, I had FEC, and did not have Tax.
It might have been because I have lung problems or because I was older 65 when starting chemo.It was not a distressing test at all. An Echo is not the same as a MUGA scan although both might be described as heart .scans
The steroids are a really important part of the chemo plan, and are one of the things to help control nausea. They can make you feel quite “wired” and wide awake on the days you are taking them, and you may be red faced.
I had White Cell Stimulator injections daily in the week after chemo, which my husband usually gave me as I found it difficult to focus with varifocal glasses!
The team will look after you, I hope, and my nurses were wonderful at saying “Ask us anything”

HiHun. I can recommend talking to the knowledgable staff on the BCC helpline, certainly easier to talk to them than perhaps dragging yourself down to the Doctor’s, especially when you are still in shock from your diagnosis and trying to “get your head around it”. Listen to the advice here…ask lots of questions…we have all been where you are now, and we have a wealth of experience from procedures, side effects, what to expect and what treatment is avaliable to you. thinking of you…xx


I did 6 x fec & had a heart scan & a lung X ray, i was 40 yrs & was told at my hospital it is standard practise for anyone about to start chemo to have both these tests done.

I also took steroids & had injections daily for just 1 week as my white blood cells had dropped a bit.

Try not to be nervous & remember that all hospitals seem to vary on what they do & don’t do but whatever they do do will always be what is correct for you at the time.

Also try not to worry about side effects as there is medication that can sort most of them out, i was very lucky in so far as apart from hair loss & a few wakeful hours whilst on the steroids I didnt really experience anything else & pretty much managed to carry on in the new “normal”.

Hi wintersocks

I think the best advice is to trust your team. they all take different approaches

I have had one of 6 FEC and have had no scans. I am not being trated in the nhs and feel sure that onc would request one if he thought it necessary.

Steroids are often used however there are some new drugs on the market
and the onc i am under keeps steroids to a minimum. In my case as an overweight diabetic steroids have the potential to encourage weight gain and increase blood sugars and the new drugs are very efficient.

I lost 5lbs in 48 hrs after chemo, but has settled now and if I had had steroids might have gained weight

They encourage you to wear TED stockings while less mobile and i dont know if this is standard

so just trust them and if your side effects are controlled thats all that matters

lots of love Poppy xxx

I was treated on the NHS and the GCSF injections were routinely prescribed by my team. The district nurse visited me at home the day after each chemo and administered the injection. Very glad I had them as I did not succumb to any infections and my bloods were always fine so I had no delays in my chemo programme.

Ok, thanks for that. I have another question to ask before Fri, Most of the ladies on here are having something called FEC (the chemo), but it looks like Im having something called EC does anyone else know what this is? and is any one else having it too?


Hi Wintersocks

FEC chemo is a combination of 3 drugs Fluorouracil (5FU), epirubicin and cyclophosphamide. EC is just the epirubicin and cyclophosphamide. It’s also a very common chemo combination.

Macmillan have some good information about it if you want to look…

Don’t get freaked out by all the possible side-effects - you are very unlikely to get all of them!