To do chemo or not, I'm really scared

Good afternoon. I am 43 I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, hormone positive lymph nodes negative, treatment was prescribed, surgery was performed and Oncotype DX analysis was done which came back with a result of 29 it is a grey area and after consultation with an oncologist who recommends chemotherapy he said that my chances of full recovery with chemo increase only by 5%, initially only radiotherapy and hormone therapy was prescribed. I am at a loss I don’t want chemo I am not ready for it and I am afraid that I can’t survive chemo before my organism it is more murderous than cancer. Do you really need chemo or radiotherapy and hormone therapy can be good too.


I’m not sure why an oncologist would tell you 29 is a grey area. It’s not according to the Taylorx trial. This study was done in 2018 and is the most comprehensive study up to date. At any rate the results were that pre-menopausal women with an oncotype score of 15 or less would not benefit from chemo. Pre-menopausal women from 16 to 20 might benefit but the risks would probably outweigh the rewards. Pre-menopausal women from 21 to 25 probably would benefit from chemo and over 25 they definitely would. For post-menopausal women, a score of 25 and lower would probably not benefit from chemo while 26 and above would. So whether you are pre or post menopausal the taylorx study says that you would benefit since your score is 29. In saying that though of course you have a choice and can refuse any recommendation they put forth. Should you? This is what I would consider. Chemo is given to destroy any rogue cells that might have escaped the breast. If you don’t get it and your cancer comes back at stage 4, would you regret it? I knew I would so when my oncotype score came back as recommending chemo, I did it. And I did fine with it. Sure it stunk and wasn’t a good time, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared and I made a complete recovery. And I know I’ve done everything possible to try and insure I’d never hear the word breast cancer in reference to myself ever again. So it’s your decision but once you hit stage 4, you can be treated but not cured. In my opinion that should weigh into your decision.

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Difficult decision to make. My oncotype DX score was high (41) so even though I was 60 when diagnosed, chemo was deemed to lower the risk of recurrence at 9 years from 33% to less than 15% so worth doing. My oncologist recommended that I keep working and keep active when I was able to. I had 3 rounds of Epirubicin & Cyclophosphamide and 3 rounds of Docetaxel. The first week after infusions is the most difficult, and for me that week got a bit longer in the last few cycles. For me it was that not too bad, I could bear with the temporary side effects mild nausea, achy muscles, lack of energy, momentary rashes, momentary swelling of legs and feet etc. In each cycles there were only 2-3 days were I could not really concentrate on my job (I’m working from home), usually after the steroids that pump us with energy wear out. My first infusion was on 13 Oct 22 last infusion was on 26 January 23. It took me a few months to completely recover. My longest lingering side effect was a bad taste in my mouth between meals but even that is beginning to fade nearly 7 months later. Keeping a diary helped me a lot, there were a lot of little milestones to write about, which gave me a sense of leaving the most difficult bits behind me. I remember my oncologist saying “you’ll sail through chemo” and that’s not what it felt like to me, but it is very doable and I now feel safer for having done it, albeit my former long hennaed hair is now short grey sheep wool!

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Good evening. Thank you for your words and support I have started chemo it’s difficult I don’t know if I can make it to the end but I’m trying to get through it.

Hi Nata,
I felt similar after my first and was reluctant to go for my second. Thought no way I would get through 6 cycles.
Then after second, I found a bit of a pattern and how to manage, then it was cycle 3 and half way…
Take it one day at a time, don’t think to cycle 2 or 3 etc, just today… and see what happens next…
Do you have an oncology nurse/breast nurse attached to you, that you could contact?
What about a Maggie or well-being centre?

Big big hugs

Thank you so much for your words. I’ve done the second course and I can tell you it’s hard and unbearable but you have to keep going. I’m slowly coming round and hopefully I’ll make it through the third. But honestly, don’t let anyone else have to deal with it. It’s not fair to have a life without a life.


I start chemo in a couple of weeks. I feel a bit overwhelmed at the amount of treatments ill be having and not sure that moment how i will be through it. 12 rounds of chemotherapy just seems such a lot at the moment and then 10 rounds of radiotherapy with me having HER2 positive breast cancer. As well has Herceptin injection for 12 months to and then the tablets

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Hi Susan

This is exactly the same as me although I’m not starting until the new year. I’ll hopefully be meeting my oncologist next week to discuss in more detail.
I hope it goes well for you.


Susan2 we have a December starter thread. Lots of moral support. Good luck with yours. X