Treatment options

I am a man aged 64 who had a mastectomy plus lymph node removal on 15th August 2007 to remove a grade 3 tumour. I have just discussed the next stages of treatment with my Oncologist who said that the lymph nodes taken from my armpit were clear of cancer which suggests that the cancer has not spread to other parts of my body.

She also told me that radiotherapy and hormone therapy would reduce the risk of this cancer reoccurring by about 60% and I have agreed to this treatment. I was also told that a course of chemotherapy could eradicate any cancer cells that may have spread, although they have said that the benefit of this is very low i.e. about 2%. The chemotherapy is optional.

My family think I should have the chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy and hormone treatment to give myself the best possible outcome, however, I feel that this course of treatment over a six month period will make me very ill and that any benefits will be minimal and that it would be more beneficial for me to start my radiotherapy and hormone treatment straight away.

Have you any comments or advice which may help me come to a decision.

hi Zander,
“welcome” to the site - sorry that you’re going through this.

I’m ‘doing’ the chemo first, then the rest of the works. My surgeon and I have decided to hit it with everything we can - to try and make sure it cannot come back. But the decision is yours alone and I hope you get the support you need whatever you decide. There’s no hurry, get through the radio therapy first and think about it.
i know you’ll get loads of support on here

Dear Zander

Welcome to the forums where I am sure you will continue to receive valuable support and advice from your fellow users. You are also welcome to contact our freephone confidential helpline on 0808 800 6000 for further support, advice and information from our team of specialist nurses. The helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-2pm. I do hope you find this information useful.
Kind regards
Breast Cancer Care

Hi Zander

Welcome to the site - sorry you have had to join us, but everyone on here is so helpful with advice and support - I’ve personally found it invaluable.

I was diagnosed on 4th April, have just finished chemo and have mastectomy, rads and herceptin to follow. Like quisie, I decided to go with everything my Consultant suggested. As I said, I have just finished my chemo - yes it was hard, but do-able, and I know its worked as my tumour has virtually disappeared.

At the end of the day, the decision is yours, and I wish you the very best with whatever you decide.


Hi Zander
I was in a similar position to you. I had two grade II tumours removed, lymph clear. Chemo was never suggested to me, but I was told that a course of Radiotherapy and hormone treatment would be preventative measures only. The hormone treatment was a course of Tamoxifen prescribed for a five year period. The problem with being Male is that the tumour is likely to be close to the chest wall and the blood vessels therein. If intrusion in this instance then Chemo would be a benefit.

Every case is different, but essentially you have the right to decide. I cant tell you what you should do, but I will say the of my recomended treatment I had the radiotherapy, no real dramas and I started the Tamoxifen. After 15 months on the drug I had a follow up appointment with my Oncologist and discussed this treatment - my problem was that the side effects were causing “quality of life” issues and he agreed that because it was only a preventative treatment (estimate benefit of 5% reduction of reoccurence) that I need not take it anymore. I am 43 years old.

I have had two reviews since diagnosis and all clear each time and I have been discharged from the Oncology department.

I feel fortunate that I never had to take Chemo, but the natural instinct is to have everything possible to rid the cancer. Sometimes it is difficult but you have to way up the benefits and make a rational decision. It seems that the Oncologist has given you the options and the decision to make for yourself, which is going to be difficult. But if you put your Oncologist on the spot and with a direct question or two you will get her opinion. Try asking “Do you consider the benefits of Chemo reasonable compared to the side effects and effect of quality of life.”

I wish you all the best with the difficult decisions ahead and of course wish you every success with your treatment.

I dont get much chance to access this site very much these days, but if you wish to talk more, try sending me a private message.




Best of luck for Thursday - you can of course discuss your treatment with your GP - who may be able to give a frank recommendation to you.



hello Zander - I had a mastectomy to my right side in January 2004 - I had a grade 3 tumor very invasive - had removed breast tissue, muscle tissue and 16 lymph nodes - I had 6 treatments of Chemotherapy - 25 treatments of Radiotherepy - now its September 2007.
I am not on any treatment what so ever - took Tamoxifen for 2 years (supposed to be 5) - go with how you feel. You are the only one who know best for yourself.

I feel fine - but remember everyone is different, what works for one doesnt mean it will work for another - also not all people are ill with chemo - everyone again is different.

Good Luck and all the best

David (55years)

Zander - my story is on this site - why not check it out if not already done so.


Hi, i am female, but please tell me, do you men suffer the simillar emotional effects that us women do? it must be as difficult for you as it is for us, yet men always seem quite a bit more reserved in how they feel (my hubby certainly does) anyway, hope your all doing well

lots of love


My husband, Jim 44, had mastectomy and lymph node removal - 6 affected - on 5.9.07. Tumour was grade 2 and medium aggressive. He is waiting for a bone scan, to be followed by 8 sessions chemo, then radiotherapy plus arimidex for 8 years(for hormone fed tumours). He said it made him feel less isolated reading your stories. The waiting is difficult and it feels like everything is on hold at the moment. Anyone with experience of arimidex?
All the best Wendy and Jim

Hi Wendy and Jim

Sortry to hear of your diagnosis. I was diagnosed in 2001, pretty much the same treatment as you have outlined. I rebelled against tamoxifen and was prescribed Arimidex. I certainly had the aches and pains associted with it and reported in these forums and blamed it for my tiredness and lethargy. However, all these year later, I have been now been told that the problems I now have were caused by the chemotherapy treatment. In particular, the cheomtherapy caused my testosteropne levels to sink to a low level and this was not treated or monitored closely at the time.

I am now on a tesoptosterone replacement therapy programme, have restarted taking arimidex. I think that’s making me feel a bit better. BUT, the consequences of having no testosterone have now caused me to be anaemic, to have osteoporosis and now diagnosed as diabetic.

So, Jim should ask his doctors to pay close attention to his testosterone levels pre and post chemotherapy so that my experiences doesn’t become his also.

Take care and I do hope that the treatment goes as well as it can.

Best wishes


Hi Zander

I did chemo after mastectomy, no lymphnode involvement, but to be honest with you I would have always wondered had I not had it if any of the little blighters had escaped and gotten through and that would have driven me crazy I think, plus I also wanted to make sure that I had got them all, hopefully I have but with all things there is no guarentee, its better to be safe than sorry in my veiw if you are having 6 chemo’s it is about 4.5 months and that is soon gone…I was really ill with FEC chemo but I would do it all again if I had to just for peace of mind, but the decision is yours and only one you can make…

PS: not everyone reacts to chemo in the same way as you will read on this site and sick meds can be very good if you get the right ones, I used to be ill and weak for aabout 5 days out of 21, for the rest of the time I tried to carry on as normal…I suppose if you do have it and you are very ill you can always stop…

best wishes my love in your decision

Hi Zander,

I too was offered chemo which would statistically raise my chance of survival in ten years from 87% to 92%. I felt that this small (STATISTICAL) increase was not worth the disruption to my family and how I would cope with being ill. My fiance’s first wife passed away from secondary bc and his 3 children (who I now live with, along with my 3 children) had already witnessed the effects of chemo twice. My oncologist fully supported my decision, as have my entire family.

As everyone says, it’s your decision and yours alone - you must do what YOU want to do and what feels right for you.

I am now, after a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction, on tamoxifen (radiotherapy was not offered due to mastectomy).

I hope your treatment goes well and that you make the right decision for you.

Best regards,