• Chemo or just radiation

    Asked by grandmajean5 on Friday, January 11, 2013

    Chemo or just radiation

    I finally got the results from my oncotype test. The oncologist said below 25 he wouldn't recommend chemo, above 25 he would recommend it. Wouldn't you know my result was exactly 25. The onc said it would change the success rate from 80 to 85% if I have chemo. I'm 68 years old in otherwise good health. In my situation, would you have the chemo or just go with radiation? I am really torn over this.

    17 Answers from the Community

    17 answers
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      Wow, that's tough. My score was 24, chemo was recommended and I did 6 sessions of CMF cocktail every 21 days. I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in Feb. Started chemo in April. No radiation was recommended for me. I can't answer for you, but I went with the most aggressive course of action.

      almost 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      I was diagnosed with stage 1 triple negative Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in Sept 2010. The tumor was less then 1 CM and very deep inside my breast. I had a lumpectomy with wide margins which came back negative and radiation treatment but no chemo. The main reason I did not have chemo is that I was taking afintor for advanced kidney cancer, and the oncologists (included my two primary, one 2nd opinion and the input of the whole oncology department) was that the risk of going off my then current treatment was greater then the benefit of changing my regimen for prophylactic chemo.

      We are all different, and how are bodies and cancer react are unique, but if it were me I would get the chemo as well. Unfortunately during my routine scans in April of this year a 1.5 cm breast cancer lesion was found on my liver, and I was switched to infusion treatments that combat both cancer. I know if If I had the option I would have chosen chemo.

      You have a lot to think about as you weigh the pros and cons of what treatment plan you wish to follow. Chemo is not fun, it has many side effects, some of which need to be controlled by more meds, some side effects will cause you to miss treatment. etc etc etc.

      Have you been tested for BRACA mutations, if no, maybe you should consider it, the results may help you decide which way to go. If you do decide on chemo, and you get infusion therapy I recommend getting a port - IVs inserted into to your arms 3-4 times a month can cause your veins to become fragile and insertion hurts, not to mention the black and blue marks. I waited 2 months to get mine -and I think the IV they inserted for the procedure used the last unsalable spot, all I know is that the 4th time was the charm.

      almost 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      The oncotype test wasn't around when I was Dx...I had bilat, chemo, rads, ooph and AI's.....The rads because I had 8+ positive nodes....Chemo is hard, but doable...Maybe get a 2nd opinion.....Go with whatever decision feels best for you....listen to your "gut"......

      almost 4 years ago
    • Giraffe's Avatar

      This is a hard decision. I opted for the aggressive treatment. The best way to make the decision is to think, read and then figure out which option you personally can live with. You as th patient always can have the treatment you think is best. No one can answer this or you. Good luck stay positive,it helps!

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I had both. My only suggestion to you is that you throw out the "success rate" stats when you make your decision. Those numbers are just statistics are probably at least 5 years old and are based on a group of people that don't include you. The stats always make it seem like there is little difference between having a recurrence. The reality is that for you, the odds are either zero or 100%.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Onoi11's Avatar

      So you are looking at the difference between 80 to 85% if you do the chemo. That's a tough one. I have had powerful chemo treatments, with a chest port, and didn't find them overwhelming at all. I realize each of us is different in how our bodies respond.

      almost 4 years ago
    • MicheleP's Avatar

      I'm struggling with the same decision. Not sure if I took that test for a score. But this is constantly on my mind. I will be following your journey. I wish you the very best. One of the sisters at the facility I work told me to put my trust in God. It's still very hard, but I'm not as scared as I was a few days ago.

      almost 4 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      I was aggressive - bilateral, chemo, radiation & Arimidex for 5 years. I agree with nancy in regards to "success rates" -- you are an "individual" in your choice -- and the choice has to be yours because you are the one that has to live with it. Personally, I have maintained that I would use every available weapon in my battle against this evil and elusive enemy. If nothing else, it gives me peace of mind that I have given it my best. Good Luck!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Myungclas' Avatar

      My score was 18 without and 8 with chemo. I did 4 rounds, because I wanted to hit it with everything I could. I loved the idea of the one digit number, even though I understand the limitations of the test. I had 34 rounds of radiation, too. I would have always worried that I didn't do enough. This way, it could still come back, but it won't be because I opted out of one stage of the fight. You have to decide for you which you can live with...

      almost 4 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar

      I was diagnosed at age 60 and following my surgery, wasn't given the option. I had to have chemo. I wasn't happy about it, but I got through six treatments of taxotere and cytoxan. Although I had many side effects and toward the end felt pretty low, it didn't take but a few weeks to start feeling better. After three months, I felt pretty good. After six, great. It is a long and difficult process, but it can be done, as you have read in the other answers. The fact that you have been in otherwise good health is a plus. I, like JennyMiller, have opted to be aggressive all the way through this, starting with my bi-lateral mastectomy. It's tough, what we are all doing, so peace of mind is very important. I hope you make your decision and find some very soon.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Loafer's Avatar

      This is a tough decision. You may want a second opinion and do a lot of research on your particular diagnosis. Chemo has side effects which may impact quality of life so you will want to weigh the pros and cons of your chemo treatment plan.

      On a positive note, my 90 year old grandmother was able to tolerate chemo. It is very doable with the right attitude.

      Hugs to you on this difficult decision!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nellie's Avatar

      My onco dx score was 19. 1-18 score is low at 19 my onc said to do chemo. I agree with the others do all you can! Goodluck and I wish you the best!

      almost 4 years ago
    • DorothyV's Avatar

      It's really a personal decision. I didn't want the oncotype testing because I didn't want to be on the fence with any decisions. I went with chemo and rads. I had a mastectomy. I guess we just wanted to cover all our bases and not come back to do chemo in the future. Whatever you chose is right for you. It seems overwhelming at the time, but it does go quickly. I had 4 rounds of chemo and 28 of radiation. Finished up on October 31, 2012. Now I am waiting for my expander to be exchanged with an implant. I am 61. Good luck and God bless:)

      almost 4 years ago
    • mdc's Avatar

      I'm not sure what the above or below 25 means. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 ER and Pros positive bc in 2004. There were two separate tumors in my right breast. One was grade 1 and the other grade 3). There was no evidence that the disease spread. I had a lumpectomy. I was not going to go with the chemo but decided to do it as it gave me a few more percentages of being safe from recurrence and/or survival. I had 4 treatments of AC followed by 33 radiation treatments and started on tamoxifen. I'm glad I did the chemotherapy. In December 2006 I found another lump under my arm. In February 2007 we confirmed the disease spread. I'm thinking it would have been worse if I did not do the chemo. I was 45/46 when this first started. I'm 54 now. I'll be 55 next month. It is a hard decision whether to go on chemotherapy or not. I just finished Xeloda and have started Ixabepilone.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      You're Her2 positive. I'd say let it rain!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      I'm having a difficult time with your score. Are you Her2 for sure? With a stage II and Her2 I'm surprised your oncologist would not recommend chemo (I was told that given how aggressive Her2 is, chemo is always recommended. Plus, you cannot get Herceptin, outside of a chemo regimen).
      Are you in good health otherwise? Do you think that your health is good enough that save cancer you could live another 15 to 20 years?

      almost 4 years ago
    • Doberwomyn's Avatar

      I understand I am torn over radiation and the meds that lower my hormones. I worry about osteoporosis if I take that .I am 68 and more concerned about my quality of life than how long I live. Afraid I have no words of wisdom for you but I feel your pain over the indecision which I have had from the beginning and dealing with it now.

      almost 4 years ago

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