Hi Lynne, the oncologists put all your details--type, grade, stage, your age & health, whether it's first cancer, new occurrence, reoccurrance, known or possible secondaries--into a computer programme and this gives one or more recommendations and the difference these are likely to make to your prognosis. There might be further individual reasons for a gentler or more stringent treatment.
I have just finished 6 FEC with anti-oestrogen tables and rads to follow. I had just one lymph node involved with IDC, but 2 years ago I had a DCIS, so chemo was definitely indicated (inmproves the prognosis by nearly 10%), but as it's one 1 node and only grade 2, stage 2 and I am over 60, FEC was the treatment of choice. I'm 'lucky' that my general health meant I could have 6 100% FEC, rather than 75% over 8 treatments. It hasn't always been easy, but I haven't had any dramatic reactions, mainly just tiredness and dizzy spells due to mild anaemia and low blood pressure, and I'm very glad to be recovering from the final treatment with the PICC removed now. The dizzy spells have been the worst for me, but not everyone gets them.
When you next see the oncologist, you can ask about the stats and the reasons, or the nurses who administer the FEC may be able to tell you. They understand that people often don't know what to ask early on.
Good luck with your treatment. I hope you get through as easily or even better than I did. (Yes, there were a few really bad moments, and some days when I had to give up and just go to bed, but I haven't been carted off to hospital or had any delays to treatment.)
I get my treatment at St Johns (Livingston) though know Ninewells as I'm originally from Dundee.
I am halfway through my chemo - I'm getting 6 FEC too. I also have positive nodes (3/13 or 3/16, can't remember) but not getting TAX. My onc said that they don't always give TAX for positive nodes. Though I presume the NICE guidelines mentioned by CheshireCheese are also applicable in Scotland. If all/many of the nodes were positive I was told I would have got 3 FEC/3 TAX, but as only 3 had cells, and one of them was micromets, FEC was deemed sufficient. And like you, i wasn't really after a more harsh regime if I could help it. I'm grade 2, so that might have been a factor too. Maybe you could ask to speak to your oncologist or BCN and ask the reasoning behind it if you're worried?
Good luck with it, whatever chemo you end up with!
NICE Guidelines: http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/12132/43314/43314.pdf. Go to bottom of page 13 and it says you should be offered Tax. Worth reading through the whole thing to make sure you are being offered the recommended treatment and within recommended timescales.
My best wishes and prayers go out to you.
If you need detail info about types of chemotherapy. Go through it ecancerchemotherapy.com/types-of-chemotherapy
Yeah think I will do some research. From the comments on this site it seems like FEC is kinder than TAX so not in a hurry to get that!!! However, as my nodes were involved (first sign of cancer for me) I will ask whether TAX should be considered.
Thanks scottiedog! I have had surgery at PRI (lumpectomy) and Ninewells (mastectomy & recon). Found both hospitals fab, great staff, really supportive. They started doing chemo at PRI last month so I chose to go there.
Kinda just want to get on with it now ... gettin hair chopped (even) shorter tomorrow in preparation! Lynne 😄
Just wanted to say hi maclinski. I had my surgery at Perth and chemo (FEC) at Ninewells, back in 2009. Good luck with your treatment. Xxxx
If you had affected nodes you might want to ask why you are not being prescribed TAX, as that seems to be the standard treatment.
If you want to do your own research, take a look at the NICE guidelines for early breast cancer. I did have a link somewhere but don't know where I put it, but Google should sort you. There are recommendations for what various treatment regimes are offered, timescales etc. Not the easiest of reads (good if you're suffering from insomnia!) but should be a good place to start looking.
you usually have tax if nodes are involved and fec is routine breast treatment. I had 4 fec and 4 tax as mine is aggressive grade 3 and im cup so they didnt know where the primary cancer is so they go for a thorough kill all over and to try and prevent recurrence.
Yep your right the waiting is torture! Hope you get an appointment soon. What part of the counrty are you in? I'm lucky I haven't had to wait too long. Was diagnosed in February and have had a lumpectomy then mastectomy with reconstruction, now am getting chemo and rads after.
I have grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma, had all my nodes removed as they were affected (think surgeon said 5 out of 12). Tumour was 2cm. Not sure about what stage, they have never mentioned that! I get my treastment at Perth Royal Infirmary and sometimes Ninewells in Dundee.
Hi Glad you have a date for chemo, I am still waiting to see onc, and as always the waiting is the worst part. I only know what other people have written on this forum, but the type of chemo seems to depend on the type of cancer you have (grade, stage, size, nodes etc) and the area where you live (different PCTs have different guidelines?). Therefore, it may help if you post these details on your thread so someone else in similar circumstances could answer. Obviously, it is totally up to you if you would prefer not to give these details.
I have got a date for my chemo now - getting PICC line put in and an ECG on 5th May, then start chemo on 6th May. Have looked through a lot of posts and realised there seems to be loads of different kinds of chemo. I am getting FEC for 6 cycles. Wondered why my oncologist would have prescribed this. Of course I should have asked her at the time!!