Thanks for posting.
Understanding the nature and role of stem cells within cancer and its treatment is complex and as yet unclear to experts. The current treatments we have for breast cancer either stop cell growth and/or kill dividing cancer cells which chemotherapy is able to do.
Your specialist may use a computer programme such as NHS Predict to estimate what benefit might be expected from treatments such as chemotherapy. This programme uses individual information about the person and their breast cancer alongside data from large research studies.
Sometimes it’s very clear that someone may benefit from having chemotherapy. But in other situations it may be less clear. If this is the case, the doctor will often leave the decision to the individual.
Making a decision can be difficult. Some people feel very strongly that they want to have every treatment that might give them benefit (no matter how small). Other’s feel they do not want to go through the treatment and potentially experience side effects, some of which may be long term.
It’s important to have as much information as possible to help you feel you make a decision that is right for you. It sounds like it may be useful to talk in more detail with your specialist about the benefit, risks and potential side effects of chemotherapy in your situation. Your breast care nurse would be able to arrange an appointment for you to be able to do this if you haven’t got one planned.
Sometimes, it can be helpful to talk with others who have been through similar situations. Our Someone Like Me service has over 200 volunteers who have had a personal experience of breast cancer and are trained to provide support and having chemotherapy is a topic commonly covered. The volunteers are able to talk to you by email or telephone.
Do call our free, confidential Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The number is 0808 800 6000.
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Breast Cancer Care Nurse
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Why do oncologists never mention that chemotherapy doesn't destroy stem cells just dividing cells? My prognosis has a 3% benefit added to it may by having fec t chemo and radiotherapy, however, when you look at side affects of destroying healthy cells and the impact on my immune system is it worth going through it?