Tumour not shrinking with chemo

Hi Ladies

I have been a bit on the silent side for a little while had some bad chemo side effects that put me on planet zong.
looking to see if anyone is in the same boat as me, I have had 3 x FEC to shrink Timmy tumour before surgery as he was to big to operate first. Been to see Onc at 4.45pm today as half way, and he tells me that Timmy hasn’t grown any which is good news but hasn’t shrunk either which is not so good news. whilst in with Onc BCN ran round to Xray to get me an appointment for tomorrow as it was to late today, she came back with one for tomorrow at 2.30pm for a mammagram, so they can have a better look at Timmy and see whats going on. He said he will then decide what to do next whether to carry on with 4th chemo on Monday or to refer me back to surgeon and cancel further chemo if it isn’t doing anything no point in having any more,
Anyone else had this? just a bit strange feeling about it, if Timmy was to big at first wont he still be? suppose will just have to wait until tomorrow and see what is going to happen, but would like to know if anyone else has been in this boat.
Hope all the other half way girlies are doing well.


Hi Nikki

If FEC has failed to shrink your tumour another option could be to switch you to another chemotherapy called taxotere. Perhaps you could ask your oncologist if this would be appropriate in your case.

Sometimes unfortunately chemotherpay does fail to shrink the tumour but surgery is still possible…though will probably involve a mastectomy rather than a wide local excision which is a possibility if large tumour has reduced in size. Again ask your oncologist about this.

best wishes


Hi Nikki,

I was in a similar situation with my chemo ‘AC’ (similar to FEC) which I had before surgery. After 2 sessions it appeared from the chemo onc’s measurements (using the hand) that lump was in fact growing (which I found very frightening). After lots of faffing about (ultrasound booked 5 weeks later until I demanded it was changed, missing original mamo and ultrasound, chemo ward not being informed etc) I was then switched to Taxotere/docetaxel to which I had a good response. I went on to have surgery (mastectomy) followed by radiotherapy and now take arimidex.

I’m coming up to 4 years in Aug and (as far as I know!) haven’t got secondaries which I must admit I never envisaged whilst I was going through what you are going through at the moment. I think it was probably the most stressful point in my whole bc experience and you have my sympathy.

I would definitely ask whether a switch to another chemo would be the way forward and if not, why not? Hang in there and do hope that you get back on track.

Take care

NikkiK -
I am in the US, had 4 treatments of AC and am now on Taxotare.
After the first round of cycles of AC, checked by my surgeon who found same thing. the tumor didnt grow, but only shrunk centimeters. Very disheartening to me too. Both the surgeon and the oncologist decided I should proceed on Taxotare as scheduled. Onc Surg gave me a biopsy for lymph nodes, and another ultrasound. And I had a second round of scans…bone and CT to see if things changed there too. No changes, whew!
they did not want to plunge in and operate, not even so much for the sake of the tumor but to “wipe up any stray cancer cells” floating about my body.

So, my advice to you is similar to Jane’s advice. The point is that if AC doesn’t work, the Taxanes, as they call them, sometimes will. Ask your oncologist or whoever your point person may be.

The other items to think about is that my oncologist is convinced that much of my tumor is scarred tissue; not a solid ball of cancer (which is how I envision it). I have had two treatment of Tax, and he says it is shrinking. I am very dubious. I am gong to see my onc surgeon tomorrow for another check…and will let you know how it turns out.

It is frightening when things don’t turn out as planned; hang in there till Plan B gets going.


Hi NikkiK

Just a quikie to say that due to … too long to explain … I ended up seeing the surgeon before the onc and the surgeon took mine out before any chemo started …

it was nearly 5cm

they did a fab job of the boob - I loss about a quarter of it

I can’t now tell whether the chemo is dong any good though … so am just plouging through it - sadly my plough is being pulled bya tired old donkey rather than anything quicker!

how big is Timmy? Have to say I think Timmy is far too nice a name for him …

good luck
love FB xxx

Maybe Nikki is thinking of Timmy Mallet and his itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini - and then it’s not far to nice a name!

Nikki - sorry to hear life isn’t going as smoothly as it ought. Taxotere certainly seems to be a more aggressive drug than FEC, in my limited experience - and based on cost…>FEC £288 a dose, TAX £1023!!! YOu just have to go in there armed with questions, and don’t let them away until you get the answers…best of luck to you xxx

Emily - hope all goes well with onc surgeon tomorrow…keep at em girl.

nikki, just like to add that my sister had no response after 2 AC, so was switched to taxotere and the tumour did then respond to treatment. Is your tumour hormone positive ? because we were told that hormone positive cancers don’t always respond as well to chemo, but you will have other treatment options. All the best xx

Hi Nikki

My tumour was too large (13cm) for surgery, so I had chemo first
My 2 x FEC did nothing except stop it getting bigger, the Tax made some small changes at the time, but not as much as they’d hoped for.
I recently had a mastectomy, and am waiting for results

Hope things look better for you soon, Bec x

Hi Ladies

A big thank you to all who replied and boasted my flagging spirits, had my mamo last Thursday which confirmed that Timmy had shrunk slighty so they had a meeting on Friday(onc, surgeon bcn and xray consultant) and decided that I should carry on with chemo and be checked regularly to see if all is going to plan, So it was back to chemo yesterday, along with sour arm which they check out and found out I had sclerosis (may be a bit off with the spelling) so had to have picc line fitted so 2 hour chemo session turned out to be 7hours, not to pleased about having the pic but have to go with what they advice, they don’t do hickman at the hospital i use, so I am sitting with my hot flannel on the top of my arm trying to prevent flebitus ( however you spell that one)…Oh the joys of chemo, never mind I only have 2 left and then me and percy pic can depart company.
Fizbix asked why I call him timmy and will probably call the other Percy, just as they rhym nothing else and think its a bit of phycology if i don’t call it the big c, helps me thinks.
Keep up the good work ladies and I hope all is going well with your journeys, Emily I hope everything went well with your visit to the onc last week.
Catch up with you all soon, and once again thanks for all you help, maybe in the future I will be able to pass on my pearls of wisdom to others who have unfortunately had to join this path of life.

glad your back on track

if you do ever rename them Reggie and Ronnie would be good! love FB xx