Hi, I was diagnosed with HER2 positive and ER positive BC last November. I had a lumpectomy, then 12 weekly sessions of Paclitaxel. At the same time I started 3 weekly injections of Herceptin which lasted for 6 months. I started losing my hair after 3 weeks, so I shaved it off. Otherwise, I had mainly mild symptoms and could carry on pretty much as normal, although I did get mild neuropathy in my hands & feet after 10 weeks of chemo. I then had 5 daily sessions of radiotherapy. I am now on Anastrozole for 5 years. Luckily, again only mild symptoms with both. I was happy to follow my consultants advice, but researched the treatments and was happy that all the large scale studies showed the evidence for it.
The good news is that you’re hormone positive so have access to a wide range of treatments. I would guess the choice to start with 6 bouts of chemo may be to do with the location or size of your tumour. The surgeon must secure clear margins of healthy tissue around the site of the tumour. The chemo will shrink your tumour, making successful surgery more likely (I write as someone who did not get clear margins and now has metastatic breast cancer) You don’t say what drugs you would have but 15 treatments sounds about normal if they are weekly treatments. Most have 12 treatments but some of these are drugs administered every three weeks. Total weeks, still 15.
Obviously the choice has to be yours but do make sure it’s an informed choice, not an instinctive one. Don’t be misled by statistics - a 2% chance of an extra year of life sounds like nothing but it includes those who scored 0% and those who scored 100%. Who’s to say you wouldn’t be that 100% person? Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best,
If your tumour is triple positive then part of your treatment will be Herceptin. This is not typical chemotherapy but you have to have it given with a course of traditional chemotherapy first. What this means is the first 6 rounds of chemo are the type we all think of that make you lose your hair and feel sick and tired ( some more than others). This shrinks the tumour and may kill it off altogether. It is tough but doable. During this time you start the Herceptin and continue it for a full year with injections every three weeks. It isn’t anywhere near as hard to cope with and has much milder effects. It is to stop the tumour coming back.
Before these amazing drugs were discovered the prognosis for triple positive tumours was quite poor. Now they are treatable and in many cases completely cured. You need to talk to your team and get them to explain why they want you to have this particular course of treatment.
second opinion is always a good idea! Before you make any decisions, you do need some info. For example, in your case , what would be reaccurance score, probably it is hard to tell before the surgery. For me talking to breast cancer now nurses truly helped with the decision making! 15 chemo sessions do look a lot to me, but i am no expert...
please take good care.
I was just diagnosed and met with a surgeon and oncologist already. They have me set to do 6 rounds of chemo before removal of the lump then finish about 9 more rounds of chemo. Then all the other stuff after. Does this sound like the normal treatment? They keep pressuring me to either get it removed now or start the chemo. I am thinking of just having it removed and skipping the keeping and living out my life as normal for as long as I can. I have so many questions and no one seems to have answers. Thank you for any and all advice you may have, Im lost over here.