I have had 3 lots of FEC 75(to complete 6). I was like you and had no idea about the stats for chemo, radiotherapy , tamoxifen etc. I am an ex nurse and so new about researching. I had to do most of research myself as my oncologist gave me a bar graph thing that I couldnt understand!! The research is so vague about the chemo that I ended up just going for it. Im HER2 positive and I have to have herceptin too which Im really not keen on(again research vague).
I wish you luck in your choice of treatment and I firmly believe that us cancer patients should be much better informed about research and survival rates etc as in my experience the info is just not there. Good Luck x
Hi, thank you everyone again for your time and effort in replying to my posts, what a supportive lot you are. My tumour was grade 2, no lymph node involvement and er+ 8/8.
I wonder if your OH might feel differently if he went with you beforehand to see the unit where you would be receiving the treatment. I'm sure that everyone of us, and our OH, were very apprehensive when we found out that we were having chemo, mainly because of stories heard in the past of horrible side effects.
Prior to my 1st chemo we were shown the Macmillan unit where I received my chemo, and nobody was tied down in their chairs, kicking and screaming. In fact, it was so calm and relaxed with a great sense of camaraderie amongst the 'chemo-cocktail takers'.
As others have said, it's not easy, but it's doable and I found it nowhere near as awful as I imagined. I was told of all the possible side-effects that I MIGHT encounter. Remember that you MIGHT get them, but then again you might not. I made up my mind when I started that if any se was really bad then all I had to do was to tell them and they would give me something to make it less so. As it turned out I didn't need to.
Whatever you decide to do you are in good company here Shadders, and we have all come out the other side of chemo.
I was in same boat as you with same percentage, age 41yrs, 9mm tumour, clear margins, no vascular invasion, clear lymph nodes with 3 % extra protection if i took chemo.
I did do chemo, fec x 6 & am glad that i did as feel i have now done all that i can possibly do.
Feel free to Pm me.
I am so sorry you have had to face this hard decision. It isn't an easy one for you with such a low % advantage.
you do not say what Grade or how many lymph nodes you had or didn't have affected or whether there was any lymphovascular invasion. If any of these factors are present you might be swayed towards chemo which is an all over body treatment. 3% does not sound a lot but if you were one of those ladies you would think it worth it. If you did not have it and there was a further problem how would you and your husband feel ? It is difficult and the decision is yours at the end of the day.
I didn't have the choice it was offered as the Gold Standard treatment for my Grade three large tumour with node and vascular involvement. I have just finishes three FEC and Three Tax. I can honestly say I was not affected too much by the FEC. Slight nausea for two days and of course the fear of the unknown.I tried the cold cap but it did not work for me but I gave up probably too soon. Knowing the side effects of the FEC it wouldn't worry me to have it again but I was lucky everybody reacts differently to drugs.
Best wishes for the future and remember if it really is horrible you can always refuse any further treatment.
Thank you all so much for your replies. I have got the stats and they give me an extra 3% if I go for it, so seems like a lot to go through for not much in return. However I also feel that I want to fight it with every possible tool and do not want it back! I am eging 70/30 towards in favour of having it. Phoned BCC and they are getting someone to phone me who has had FECx6 like I am being offered. OH is struggling with me wanting to go with it as he doesn't want to see me become ill and says he's scared. Oh what to do? I'm sorry if I seem pathetic but I'm sure most of you if given these odds would feel the same.
Just echoing what is said elsewhere - ask for the stats that relate to you - they will give you an idea of your chances with and without chemo. Only you can decide how much of an improvement is worth the side effects. BUT you don't know what side effects you will get - you may have very few... and you can always start chemo and decline more cycles later.
Personally I'd say if chemo is expected to have any benefit in your case, I'd go for it - I've had mild side effects (touch wood - as had two doses so far).
Have you noticed the comments in the thread about 10 down from this one, asking almost the same question, you mind find it helpful
I was in a similar position to you in just turned 43 in July - WLE & SNB - 27mm grade 3.
When I was first told I may need chemo and to think about it - I was floored but took the opinion that they wouldn't offer it if I didn't need it and like the others have said it's the "final varnish" or "extra insurance"!!
Like SuperTrouper and Slinky have already said you are not on your own on the forums - I'm on the September Chemo thread and can honestly say the girls there have helped me immensely, I wouldn't be without them!
Chemo isn't easy but with the help and support of the hospital, the side effects can be managed, believe me no-one was more frightened than me, having seen my father go through it 18 years ago when they didn't have the knowledge, drugs or techniques they have now.
Whatever decision you make, you have come to the right place for support!
Hi, I am on a thread with super trooper,
And like her I have had my last chemo on the 25th November, I am having my op on the 21st of Dec...
I had 3 FEC and 3Tax ... my tumour was 4cm and lymph nodes involment as well... at my last oncology app, tumour has shrunk to nothing and same result with my lymph nodes.... I still have to have mastectomy as my primary tumour is under my nipple...
The chemo was tough, but tumour started to shrink after my first session and the results kept me positive whole way through, Se's are not pleasant, but it is durable. I found FEC SE's easier to recover from and I was feeling back to normal at the beginning of week one...
I hope this helped a little, I know the decision is ultimately yours. Good luck with making your choice and with your treatments xxx
ps I am 42 and to me chemo is the key.I have also met some fabulous ladies on our "starting chemo in August " thread...we all helped eachother to get through SE's and pick advices from one and another... we are now planning to meet up next year with full heads of hair! we call ourselfs "BIRDS WITHOUT FEATHERS" XX, but not for long xx
Sorry you have had to join us.
TAX is another chemo - Taxatore. Some people do 3 FEC and then 3 TAX.
I had dose dense chemo - aggressive treatment, 2 weeks apart rather than 3 weeks apart - and found it fine! I was terrified at the thought of it and imagined all sorts of awfulness but my side effects were really mild. I've also met people who worked all the way through chemo. However, obviously there are also people who suffer. I have even kept a head of hair by using the cold cap. It's thinner - but it's there! 🙂
ps: i'm 45 and my oncologist keeps going on about how young i am, how much reason there is to fight. to me chemo is the magic potion.
i also didn't have a choice, without chemo and tamoxifen i had a 35% chance of being alive in 10 years i was told, with it more than 75% - so no choice there. could you ask for similar stats for yourself? there's a computer program that takes in all your cancer details and spits out some numbers. sometimes they give you a number based on 'recurrence' rather than 'death', which i might have preferred but i wasn't given the choice!
do you know the details of your cancer - grade, nodes, tumour size, hormone status etc?
you could read around the forums here to see how people are managing on chemo. it seems to vary greatly, some of us really struggle, most of us get by sortof ok. it's obviously not fun and there are some dark days when it all feels too much but they pass and there are some funny bits and interesting bits and you meet some fantastic people and get to know the fantastic people in your own life a lot better.
I had no choice in the matter, but if I would have had I would def go for it, better safe than sorry kind of thinking 🙂
Thank you so much for your quick reply ST. Thought I'd made the decision to go for it, same reasons as you but family have advised I try and talk to someone who's had it and get the low down. How was it? I will be on 6 cycles of schedule A FEC ( less agressive one ) before I have rads and tamoxifen (is that TAX?0.
Hello there Jacqui
Touch decision to make! I took everything that was offered mainly because I didn't want to regret turning something down. Chemo is tough but my onc compared it to an extra coat of varnish - it protects your future.
Good luck - and I am sure there will be lots of others along soon who will chip in with their thoughts and experiences.
Just for the record I finished Chemotherapy last week after 5 months of it. 4 x EC and 4 X TAX it shrank my tumour considerably. I will have surgery later this month and then Rads early 2012.
Do keep coming back and let us know what you decide - we will all be here to support you.
I am 42 and have had a lumpectomy. Will have rads and tamoxifen. Have been offered chemo and don't know what to do. Need to make the decision and need help please.
In desperation Jacqui.