Jayney - trust me I understand! I also had chemo first for positive nodes (and am Stage 3) and the expletive chemo didn't kill any of my lymph tumours. Lots of side effects for me, no effect at all on the cancer. Grrr. I am resigned to worrying about it to some extent for the rest of my life, however long or short that may be. But I am heartened to hear you are going strong 4 years later - that's a good news story for me! Take care (and avoid the DM). Xxx
I agree about the Daily Mail but having seen it I can't unsee it! I had chemo first for positive nodes and understood a lot more women were having this, my Oncologist was very keen to do this for a lot of her patients and she was very much into research. That is the problem with these articles, they don't give the whole picture. I am 4 years down the line now and this has really set me back, I know I can do nothing about it but it has resurrected the fear that I try to keep down daily.
From the article I read it seems this research is looking specifically at women who have had chemo before surgery (e.g. to try to shrink their tumour so they can have WLE rather than mastectomy) NOT women who have had surgery to remove the tumour followed by chemo, which is most people. Certainly the current view held by the oncologists at the leading London teaching hospital I attend is that where patients have nodal spread (like me) giving chemo asap, sometimes even before surgery, gives statistically better outcomes. I am sure that in 50 years time (maybe 20 years time ...) they will look at the treatments we receive today and think how primitive or even misguided some of them were. But at the end of the day we can only be treated according to the best understanding the medical profession currently has. As Roadrunner says, given the improved statistics for survival rates amongst those who have chemo (see Predict), that's still the choice I would be making now. Also my general advice for life and sanity is not to read the Daily Mail which loves half-baked inaccurate scaremongering on all topics!!
When I had my treatment ten years ago I googled a lot - I am someone who needs to have information. I read the original research for my chemo regime (FEC-T) and it was very clear that this regime was beneficial in terms of disease free survival. Now it seems that for some patients chemo can have unexpected adverse consequences. If this is happening now, it would also have been happening when that original research was done. Yet survival rates were still better - ie the number who had adverse consequences were outweighed by those who benefitted. So you are still better off having chemo, as it gives you a better chance of survival. And if this new finding leads to scientists being able to pinpoint those who could be harmed by chemo, and do something about it, then survival rates will go even higher.
Has anybody else read these recent reports? There was an article in the Mail recently and Chris Woolhams from Canceractive is not promoting this. It has frightened the daylights out of me and I guess quite a few other people. I would like to see a balanced report on this from Oncologists who are advising us that chemo is the way to go. I know there are always scaremongering reports but this is quite something.