Triple negative and discussing chemo

Hi Folks

Looking for some advice. I am TN diagnosed Feb this year. Have had Mastectomy, no lymph node involvement. Started chemo 3 weeks ago, FEC. Ongologist has prescribed x6 and 5 weeks of rads. Appointment arranged with Ongologist to discuss chemo as I am unsure why I am not getting FEC T. So I am clear is FEC T,(fec and tax),and appears to be the most common form of chemo for TN. What do others think ?

Many thanks


Hi there
maybe your not getting tax as your nodes were clear- the nodes seem to be the decider when it comes to tax. But you are right to question the decision as you want to ‘throw everything at it’ since there are no follow up treatments for triple negs. There are no guarantees but tax is said to be the gold standard so for peace of mind, push for tax don’t ignore your insticts.
All the very best :slight_smile:
tina x

I had clear nodes and 17mm tumour. I had 3 fec, 3 tax. I am weakly er positive but my oncologist treated me, in his words, as though i was triple negative. Mine was grade 3 ductal cancer. Other collesgues in the same team said they’d have gone for 6 fec, its a grey area. I’m really glad i had the taxotere as well now. I’d push for tax in your position, and ask for a second opinion if he doesnt. There is a thread called fec and tax (i think) which is very much on this topic, you’d find it very useful. Good luck


I was TNC but had lymph node involvement. I had 4 AC and 4 Paclitaxel fortnightly. I didn’t understand how the chemo treatment worked as all the ladies I met seemed to be on different drugs and different regimes x

Hi all,

I am similar to you, Vickie - slightly smaller tumour, but no node involvement, grade 3 and vascular invasion. Had WLE and finished FEC-T 4 weeks ago. Start rads tomorrow. I am weakly er+ (2/8). I feel that that means I am 75% TN and 25% ER+ although no-one has said so, so I’m interested to see that your onc is treating you as such. I guess mine is too. I am to start Arimidex soon. Are you on tamoxifen or an Aromatose Inhibitor?

Best wishes to those about to start chemo - and to everyone else.

Stella xx

Hi stella, i was 4/8 er+, so am on tamoxifen but don’t know how much, if any, benefit it will be as only “vaguely” er positive in their words. I am 37 so pre menopausal at dx.

Thanks folks for your comments tonite. Have appointment tomorrow with Oncologist so will let you know how I get on.

Jo x

i had TNBC 1.9cm plus extensive vascular invasion but no nodes and had epi-cmf… no tax for me either even though i did request it… but was informed the cost to me personally would be too high! if it was up to me personally it would have been worth it but think what he really means was the cost to his budget would be too high (hmmm cynical??).

stella an ER of 2 is the lowest you get apart from zero so is usually considered negative… the figure is worked out using something called the Allred score and is based on two factors percentage and intensity… intensity is in 3 levels 1 being the least and 3 the most intensive (most receptive to oestrogen) and the percentage is in 5 levels… level 5 is 66-100%, level 4 is 33-66%, level 3 is 10-33%, level 2 is 1-10% and level 1 is less than 1%.

to get a score of 2 you would have less than 1% of receptors which were only poorly receptive to oestrogen… 0 and 2 are usually considered negative, 3-5 is considered oestrogen poor and and 6-8 is strongly positive… the benefit you get from hormones at 2 is negligible as they would only be effective on less than 1% of the cells but some docs think its worth it even for 1%.

the variation seems to be rife up and down the country with everybody having their own personal ideas on whats best.

good luck with the chemo you guys.


Thanks for the explanation Lulu. I’ll have a discussion about the benefits of being on Arimidex if I suffer many SEs.

Whoops - sorry, distracted by phone and pressed submit by mistake.
My onc did say Tax was expensive but would push for it.
Vickie, is Tamoxifen causing you many problems?
I’m 58 so obviously post menopausal, so an AI for me.

Best wishes all. Stella xx

I think it’s bizarre how regimes vary for TN patients. Surely they should throw everything at us since no follow up treatments are available? For example, dose dense treatments, 8 instead of 6, strongest chemo options, always rads etc. I often wonder if a more intensive regime might have made the difference in my case. They certainly seem to take a more aggressive approach in the US + outcomes are much better there.
Tina x

So glad I found this thread this morning…got ammunition for Oncologist this afternoon at our first meeting.

I too am Triple Negative, 30mm lump, High Grade 3 very aggressive in the words of Consultant last week. I know I am going to get FEC but did not expect TAX as no node involvement. I too have been concerned that FEC is not enough but have read on McMillan that TN responds very well to chemo (but does that include TAX?!).

I am going to have long conversation today as I want whatever they can give me to stop this bloody disease from causing secondaries, that is my greatest fear as both Consultant last week and McMillan site make no bones about the fact that TN has a MUCH higher incidence of secondaries but they do not know what feeds the cancer cells.

Thanks ladies, will let you know later what happens.

Tracy xxx

Hi all I am tn grade 3 I had 6 fec 5 tax with no nodes involved unf tax didn’t work on me my lump grew while was on tax but also returned a yr after treatment I now had sec to lungs it’s so hard for us tn ladies as chemo Is our only option i hope you all get the advice u need pls update with any news tc ladies laura


I am 3xneg and high lymph node involvment 18/23

my chemo was AC[Doxorubicin & cyclophosphamide]-tax [paclitaxel](8 sessions every two weeks)

Loupylou - you are the first person I have come across who also did a fortnightly regime

Rhian x

I was dx tnbc in Oct 2006 Grade2 2cm no nodes involved-I was given 4xfec and 4xtaxotere followed by 15 rads.I see my onc today[about 4 yrs from end of chemo]and am hoping that ned is still my friend.Tn is at its most aggressive in the first 2 to 3 years after dx so I was glad that everything was thrown at mine from the start.
Good Luck everyone

Hi Rhian
I’m not sure what the criterion is when deciding the the fortnightly dose dense regime. It has been hard going in that no sooner was I feeling human, it was time for the next dose. The upside was that the chemo was over in four months instead of six. I managed to avoid infection until the final dose when I went down with a flu virus which I thought was going to finish me off! Unfortunatly this delayed radiotherapy starting but I’m now into the fourth week of five weeks of radiotherapy. Rhian is a good welsh name so perhaps we were treated in the same locality!

Hi Lou

I had my treatment in London as i was living there then (2008/2009) but have since moved back to wales.

Yes I agree it was a killer the 4 months became a fog towards the end, and I had to have a couple of blood transfusions that oddly I found harder to cope with the procedure than chemo!! i had 32 rads. How is your skin doing now?

I was doing myine at this time of year , hope you are coping with the warm weather.

Rhian x

Hi all

Laura, what size lump did you have, just wondered if that had any bearing on the TAX. As stated mine is 30mm, I am so worried about secondaries I really do hope they throw all they can at mine so I can at least get a bit of peace of mind knowing they have tried as hard as they can.

It is so scary when you know that they do not yet have an answer as to what feeds the cancer. Unlike the Hormone therapy etc we can only rely upon the chemo and rads with no ongoing treatment hoping with all things crossed that it does not spread…but clearly it does!

I do hope I am not the only one who is scared, I am being positive and will fight it but god I am scared!

Tracy xxx

Hiya Tracy

me scared too but there are some really good stories out there of 3xneg ladies who get through, keep kicking it in the ar*e girl

hey I am still here and i was given a poor prognosis

my breast lump was only 18mm and wasn’t picked up on the mammogram it was the lump in the lymph nodes that sparked my investigations.

love rhi x

Hi All
I was diagnosed TN Sept 05, mx Sept 05, 3.5 cm, 8 out of 32 nodes involved.
4 x Epi, 4 x CMF, 20 x rads.
I felt I missed out not having tax but I’m now over 5 years from diagnosis and still NED.