To do chemotherapy or not

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.

This is the nurses forum and only they can respond. If you would like other patient’s input, you can ask this same question in a more general forum. Good luck!

Hi nata,

Thanks for your post asking about if you need chemotherapy treatment or if radiotherapy and hormone therapy can be good too.

It can be very difficult making a decision about the benefits of having chemotherapy treatment, especially if you don’t feel able to cope with it. Chemotherapy may be used after surgery for primary breast cancer to reduce the risk of cancer returning or spreading. It can be given in combination with other treatments, such as radiotherapy and hormone treatment.

Radiotherapy reduces the risk of a local recurrence to the breast area. Hormone treatment also reduces the risk of a cancer returning or spreading anywhere in the body. Chemotherapy can further reduce the risk in some situations. The oncotype DX is a test used to predict how likely breast cancer is to come back after surgery and the likely benefit of having chemotherapy, in people who will be taking hormone therapy.

When you are under the age of 50, an oncotype score of 16 or above means your specialist will discuss this you to help decide if you’re likely to benefit from chemotherapy. You mention your oncologist has discussed your result and has said your chances of a full recovery with chemo increases by 5 %. It sounds like they are saying this is in addition to the benefit of radiotherapy and hormone treatment.

Making a decision whether to have chemotherapy is a personal one. You’ll need to weigh up the likely benefits against the potential side effects. It might help to talk to your treatment team again and ask how possible side effects of chemotherapy would be managed to help you understand more about treatment. You could let them know that you feel like you might not survive having chemotherapy. You could also ask them what the benefit of radiotherapy and hormone treatment alone might be. It may also help to contact your breast care nurse and let them know your concerns.

You may be interested in connecting with others who have had to make similar decisions about chemotherapy. This section of the forum and our Someone Like Me service might also be of interest. Our Someone Like Me service can match you with a trained volunteer who’s had a similar experience.

You can also call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen to your concerns, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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