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New and so confused

Newby24Newby24 Member Posts: 62
edited January 2019 in Newly diagnosed
I am Grade 2, sentinel lymph node free, deciding if the 4 or 5% difference of having Chemo or going straight into radiation and onto tablets and with the added severe family history of kidney and heart disease. So confused ‘do I do Chemo or not’ I know it’s my decision but would like to know if other women have same or similar diagnosis. The oncologist said last week you have 6% extra chance of survival and then today said 4 or 5%. 


  • Chelley59Chelley59 Gawler SAMember Posts: 55
    edited January 2019
    Sorry Newby24 are you saying your BC is stage 2 ...there are stages of the ca and grades of the cancer x

  • Newby24Newby24 Member Posts: 62
    Sorry I am really new and I think they said grade 2 because of the size. They apparently got it all and the margins are quite clear.
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 2,793
    Have you a doctor or specialist who can advise specifically in relation to your family history? The oncologist is trying to reduce your risk of cancer recurrence but you may find a decision easier if someone else with specialist knowledge can advise about the potential risks some chemotherapies may have in relation to other health factors. These risks may actually be very small but you are entitled to know about them. Your treatment is your decision but you want to make it with as much information as possible. Seeking a second, specialised opinion is just being practical. Best wishes. 
  • Newby24Newby24 Member Posts: 62
    Thank you and I did see my cancer nurse today and asked her lots of questions, I then went to dietician and asked about foods while on chemo and then to my local doctor and asked about my family history and chemo so I had a full overhaul of blood counts and get results back Wednesday. I have put my chemo back a week so I can further investigate. My cancer nurse contacted my oncologist today and told him of my fears and he said with only the 4 to 5% difference he would be okay with me not going down the chemo track. So I am totally confused. 
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 4,058

    The link above may broaden your understanding and there are links within that page

    Take care 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 2,793
    Your oncologist has proposed what he considers, on medical evidence, to be the best combination of treatments to keep you cancer free. But it's not an exact science. You might have chemo and get a recurrence. You might not have chemo and be fine. Your oncologist knows that individuals have different reactions to treatments and is understanding of your concerns. Wait till you have further information on Wednesday and things may be clearer then. Best wishes. 
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,870
    Hi @Newby24.

    This question comes up a lot here. One of our members likes to translate the percentages into numbers. It goes something like this: there's one thousand people in a room. They're told they all have breast cancer. 900 have their tumour removed and radiotherapy and they get to leave. 100 are left and are told they're going to die. But then 50 are told that they're going to have chemo and so they too get to leave the room.

    I may not have got that exactly right, but you get the drift!

    For me it came down to not having any regrets. If my cancer comes back it comes back, but I won't be tortured by an 'if only'. I've thrown the kitchen sink at mine and I will never be tortured by what ifs, if it returns. This is important to me.

    Ask your doctor if a genomic test would be useful. If you can afford it (they can cost up to $4000) they can determine if chemotherapy would have a curative benefit if some cancer cells have escaped and are looking for somewhere else to grow in your body.

    It's so hard when there's an element of choice. Listen to your gut, be true to yourself and those you hold dearest. Chemo is the best medicine we have now, but it's not without cost to our bodies and minds. You are right to question it, but also know that for most people nowadays it's not the horror show it was a generation ago.

    Good luck with your decision and let us know what you decide. K xox
  • ~Millie~~Millie~ Member Posts: 61
    edited January 2019
    I had stage 2, clear margins, clear nodes and chose not to have chemo. My numbers were 88% chance of making 10 years without chemo, wouldn't make it to 90% with chemo even if it had maximum benefit. Being 42 at the time I was very concerned about the long term collateral damage to my health / body from chemo with such a small maximum potential benefit. Then there was the fact I was self employed, going through the physical and emotional trauma plus financial didn't seem worth it for such a minimal possible improvement. Choosing quality of life over quantity. Then there was the fact the onc said ''chemo is only going to kill cancer cells that are there now, and you probably don't currently have cancer", but yet he was prepared to make a few bucks out of a brutal treatment. Still shaking my head over that visit. If nodes weren't clear, then I would have chosen chemo. Best of luck to everyone with their treatment choices. xx
  • Andrea_J1Andrea_J1 ACT / NSW Border Member Posts: 8
    @Newby24, I get where yo are coming from.  I had breast conserving bilat mammoplasty 4 weeks ago.  I got my results yesterday.  Both tumours were removed with clear margins, my right sentinel nodes(3) were clear, my left sentinel nodes were not (2 of 4 were affected).  I am now on another whirlwind trip of treatment/surgery.  It is really overwhelming, but you do have to do what is right for you. xoxoxo
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 3,640
    Sorry to hear that @Andrea_J1  -  your medical team will be organising the best treatment for you  -  and we'll be thinking of you as you go ahead with your treatment/surgery.

    Ask away any questions that you may have - maybe in it's own thread?

    All the best xxxx  Hugs coming your way  xx

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