wat to expect from TAC

Hi all,
Am about to start my chemo on 29th Dec with 6xTAC. I noticed a lot of people on here seem to start with FEC first and I was wondering what the good, the bad and the ugly of TAC was? My consultant already has me down as a control freak who likes to know everything so would rather hear the best and worse so have some idea of what to expect, from wat I gather is the most poisonous of the chemo drugs. I have a 5 year old running round so duvet days will be in short supply . Any help, comments would be gratefully received,
Herbi x

Hi Herbi,

I did the same regimen as you are going to have except that I started with AC first. I was scheduled to have 4 of each but in the end, due to complications I had 4 AC and 2 Tax. I definitely found AC easier to cope with than Tax but reactions to chemo are very much an individual thing. Some folks sail through Tax and then struggle on AC and vice versa.

The main problem I had with AC was overwhelming exhaustion and mucositis (irritation of the mucus membrane) which left my mouth very painful and made eating difficult.

With Tax it was aching joints, tingling and pain in my hands and feet along with feeling ‘buzzed’ on the steroids, making it hard to sleep.

I had overall problems with both white and red cell counts right the way through even with transfusions for the red cells and a white cell booster. I ended up nearly dying through side effects related to this but that was also connected to problems with the central line I had fitted to save my veins. That experience is very much the exception and not the norm though.

My advice is to drink plenty of fluids, particularly in the 48 hours after treatment - it really does help with the nausea. Plus be very upfront about side effects. If are having problems tell the chemotherapy staff as there are lots of things they can do to help.

Chemo is hard work but you can get through it!

Good Luck with your treatment!

Nymeria x

Hi herbi

I was due to have 6xTAC, but after 3 they have switched me to FEC as I was not doing well (don’t worry, I have pre-existing health problems hence the bad reaction I think). The side efects seem to vary with a lot of people, and seem to be roughly the same as FEC but from what I can gather with more tiredness. I have a chemo buddy on the same treatment who has not been too bad at all, and have also spoken to another couple of ladies I know who have had same, and like I say it varies. What I would say is get as much of a support network around as you can - with a 5 yr old it will be hard work (it’s bad enough with my 2 and they are 12 and 14 - mind you, just a different set of problems really!). Luckily my DH has private health insurance so they are paying for a cleaner and a dog walker, which has been invaluable - is that an option for you? Get plenty of pre-prepped meals in the freezer that can easily be defrosted (those tin foil trays are good) and warmed up in the oven for when you can’t be bothered to cook.

Have you had Mx first? One of the reasons I was able to swap to FEC is that I have not had surgery yet, and the response of the tumour and lymph nodes to the TAC has been excellent. Please bear this in mind during the tough times - the stuff does its job that’s for sure, it’s been so nice to see it working. If you want to PM me, please feel free - I wonder where you are having your treatment as the only other ladies I’ve met on here who are having TAC as opposed to Tax and FEC or Tax and AC are based in Glos, like me.

You should get sent home with GCSF injections I would think to help your white blood cells, and plenty of anti-emetics and steroids, which will probably afffect your sleep patterns for some days. Look at the “Top tips” thread on here and get yourself some supplies in and good luck.

Teresa x

Hi Herbi

I am on TAC, I am due to get 6 x TAC and have had 3 so far. The SE’s haven’t been too bad for me other than feeling extremely tired. I am like Teresa and based in Gloucestershire. It has all been doable with the medication, I have injections and antibiotics every time which help combat low blood count. I haven’t had my op yet, you don’t say whether you have or not. Drink plenty of fluids that helps with the SE’s and let them know if the meds aren’t working and they will give you more. I’m due to get my 4th on on 30th December.

Good luck with your treatment and feel free to PM me if you want.


Hi Herbi

I had 3 x FEC followed by 3 x Docetaxol (Taxotere). So I’ve experienced 2 of the drugs you face, namely taxotere and cyclophosphamide.

I didn’t look at forums or compare my situation with anyone until I was some way into my cancer journey - bascially because I didn’t want to be scared by stuff that might not happen anyway. Therefore I didn’t even know that Tax has a reputation for being worse that FEC. My experience was that I felt very similar on both, if naything I felt more “normal” more quickly during the Tax cycles compared to FEC. The only real difference was that my nails went a bit manky as a result of Tax and this didn’t happen with FEC.

Best of luck.

Hi all,
Thanks for ur comments, it’s good to know everyone is coping. I have already had mx at lie begining of Nov and have rads to go after, then tamoxifen I think. I’m 44 and live in cornwall though oddly my son is at uni in Gloucester. I was a bit concerned that it didn’t seem to be a common regime but sometimes u just have to trust they’re getting it right. I think I’m going to struggle badly with excepting the tiredness has to be given in to, I’m just not good at sitting down!
Herbi x

Good luck Herbi, try and relax and enjoy the good times over Christmas before you start. You will have to get used to listening to your body and resting when you need to!

Let us know how you get on and I concur with everything Weme has said - she’s a great gal! - it is so hard to say how you are going to react…

Contact us if you need to.

Teresa x

I had 4 x AC and 4 x Tax. I found the AC worse than the Tax in many ways. It is doable though, rest when you need to rest and take all the available drugs to help with the side effects. X

It’s interesting to hear about others who are going/have gone through this regimen because it does seem to be a less commonly used one. I was the only person in my chemo unit on it and there are only a few of us on BCC. I live in North Devon.


I haven’t posted on this site before, but have been looking for information here as I’ve gone through the various stages of my diagnosis and found it very helpful. I’m now due to start 6 sessions of TAC this Wednesday and am keen to hear from others that have had this type of chemo and those who are starting it now. I’m 55 and down for mx after the chemo.

I wanted to ask advice also on having a PICC line or similar put in. I’ve had my lymph nodes done and when I had my bloods done last week, they could’t find a vein. I don’t want to go thorough that too often, so thought about asking about the prospect of having a fixed line put in when I go for my steriods tomorrow. Is the general opinion out there that it is worth doing or does it cause even more problems?



Hi ApplePie

I am sure you will recieve lots of responses to your question about a PICC line but I wondered if you had thought of calling our helpline as well to discuss what it might mean for you? 808 800 6000 it is a freephone number and open 9-5 Monday to Friday and 9-2 Saturdays, manned by trained specialist breast cancer nurses and helpliners.

Best wishes

Hi Herbi,
I had TAC. Ive had all my treatment in the States, where I currently live. Also had a "port" fitted as a matter of course. I was 54 when I went through it all, two years ago. The first day (when I had the chemo) I felt a bit "off". Days 2 and 3 I kept to my bed, and slept and after that I had a slow "getting back to normal", then felt ok for the third week, and then had the whole process all over again. I had drugs (steroids and anti nausea to combat side effects and always, the day after chemo, I had an injection called Neulasta to get the white blood cells up. I wasnt sick at all, those anti nausea drugs must have worked!
Also, hubby was coming in at odd hours so I actually managed to cook dinner every day, my proud achievement!
We all respond differently though, so just do what you can manage!
Try and get some help with your five year old, babysitting or pick up from school. You will not be “shirking”, hopefully people will understand. Chemo is horrid, but its only for a limited time. You will need some cosseting, Give in! Youd do it for others, Im sure! I really hope you have some good sympathetic, helpful friends and rellies,


I had a MX and WLE Oct 2010 (bilateral BC) followed by TAC chemo, 6 weeks of rads and now on tamoxifen. I was scheduled to have 6 x TAC but after a PET scan (which was good) after my sixth session I decided to go back for more and had 2 further rounds! I struggled to find many who had had TAC and that initially scared me a bit. It seems to be known as one of the most tough regimes (but also seen it described as the “gold standard” of chemo) but of course everyone is different in how they cope (regardless of what chemo cocktail they are enjoying).

I suffered usual chemo side effects (not sure there is anything specific to TAC) but managed to continue my life (including working full time and being a single parent to a 7 yr old!) as per normal. In fact I was so determined BC would not disrupt my life that I did more than I’d normally do socially (if I got an invite to a dinner I’d take it!)! I generally had 2 days each cycle (days 5 & 6) when I knew i would feel the worse but made sure not too much was going on those days. I had a blood transfusion after the 5th cycle but I think that could have happened regardless of which chemo regime I was on. I guess what I want to say is it is doable! I’d just say do what is right for you.

Hope this helps.

So interesting to see that there are other people out there on the TAC (there aren’t many of us, that’s for sure!), and compare notes - as usual a vast difference between how people are coping with it. I wonder why the different treatment as outwardly I see other people on here with similar Dx and yet they are on FEC-T. It’s strange, but we have to trust our teams and know that they are doing their very best for us.

Mint Tea, you did really well to keep working.

Apple Pie and Herbi good luck!

Just wondering whether TAC stopped anyone’s periods, the consultant seemed quite insistent that it should as I’m ER + ?
Herbi X

Hi herbi. I had one period just before my second tac and then a little bit of spotting when next due on, nothing since. Plenty of hot flushes though, always in the evening and at night. Not pleasant but equally not awful, they pass after a few minutes. I also got a lot of twinges in both breasts and was worried about the clear one, but was told by my consultant it is because the ovaries are knocked by the chemo so you can get quite a lot of these hormonal twinges, so don’t worry if you get them too.

Teresa x

My periods disappeared after chemo 1 and 14 months later are yet to reappear. My Oncologist told me at age 42 there’s a 50% chance of them reappearing in next 3 years.