• Had lumpectomy yesterday. My surgeon just called and told us final pathology report shows sentinel node biopsy is negative. We understand need for radiation therapy after lumpectomy but wonder why I still need chemotherapy. We will of course discuss with

    Asked by sadie on Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Had lumpectomy yesterday. My surgeon just called and told us final pathology report shows sentinel node biopsy is negative. We understand need for radiation therapy after lumpectomy but wonder why I still need chemotherapy. We will of course discuss with

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    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • leepenn's Avatar

      So many things go into determining whether chemotherapy is appropriate. I had triple negative, to chemotherapy is practically a given. If you are hormone positive, then you can get information about the probability of recurrence etc... based on the pathology results from your lumpectomy. No matter what, your oncologist(s) should be able to clearly explain the reasons for their recommendations. And, you should consider a second opinion if you feel unsure about their recommendations.

      TERRIFIC that your sentinel node biopsy = negative!

      GOOD LUCK!

      over 5 years ago
    • Txblueeyes' Avatar

      Hi! I was sitting in your place 5 months ago. My surgery went great...clear margins all around the tumor, sentinel nodes were all clear (I had 4) and the vascular system to the nodes was also clear. Like leepenn, I am basically triple negative...my ER is positive but just barely. My tumor also scored 9/9 on the Nottingham scale. For these reasons, chemo was recommended. I fought it as I really did not want to go through chemo. Now that I'm finished, I'm glad that I took the journey. I had 4 rounds of TC, and I really did not have too many side effects. I started radiation on Monday, so by mid -April, my treatments will be all done. I finally decided to go forward with the chemo when my doctor explained it was like an "insurance policy" to help prevent a reoccurrence. There's still no guarantees, but my chances were greater to be cancer-free in 5years than without the chemo. I didn't want to look back later and regret not going through the chemo when I had the opportunity. I know it's a huge decision to make. My prayers go out for you during this time. I found that once I made the decision to go with chemo, my fears went away. Having a plan on how to beat this thing, gave me a lot of peace. I finally felt I had a little control over the cancer. Good luck to you!

      over 5 years ago
    • cranburymom's Avatar

      I had the same question last Dec. I just finished my 4th round of chemo and I am going to stop here (a full treatment will be 6 cycles). I am suffering from a constellation of symptoms (side-effects) and having hard time to cope with some of them. My Onc now admits that I am over-treated. Again EVERYONE is different. Some goes through with minimum side-effects, and others (like me!) get everything listed and more. Besides these side-effects, first we need to carefully examine the clinical benefits. It is not exact science as no study will match with your case perfectly. So you may need to seek more than one professional opinion and you have time to do that.
      You can also stop your treatment any point. So you do not need to feel "trapped". It's your decision. Yes, it will impact on your life and your loved one and family.
      It's a good exercise as you will need to make more decisions later. This is a journey with many different paths. Take a deep breath and takle one at a time.
      All of us are here to support each other.

      Congrats on great results and good luck!!!

      over 5 years ago
    • attypatty's Avatar

      Dear Sadie:
      I was in much the same position - lumpectomy, no nodes, and the onc said I should have chemotherapy. The reason? The tumor was tested with the Oncotype test and showed it was a moderately aggressive cancer. The tumor was also larger than the biopsy had indicated - the actual tumor was 2.5cm when the biopsy estimate was 1.7. So once the tumor was excised, measured and tested, I was given an upgrade from Stage 1 to Stage 2 and from Grade 1 to Grade 2. And no free champagne!!
      Was your tumor tested? The grade of the tumor can make the difference in the course of the treatment. Even though chemotherapy can be hard to take at times, it does end and we do return to a life without side effects. The benefit is, after chemotherapy, we are returning to a cancer-free life, and a life with less chance of recurrence. That's what chemotherapy is all about - killing microscopic disease, ridding our bodies of any circulating cancer cells, and reducing the chance of it ever coming back. Keeping that in mind makes all the side effects easier to bear. I think of it as trading 9 months of XXX for 20 or 30 or 40 years of disease free life! I still plan to live to be 100.

      over 5 years ago
    • sadie's Avatar

      Thank you for your responses. I had started to feel more positive after hearing that the sentinel node was negative and the margins were clear...it is still Stage 1 but Grade 3 with "brisk mitotic activity" meaning it is very agressive, showing the need for "agressive chemotherapy." It also terrifies me to know that there is "lymph vascular invasion"... so it is in the bloodstream. I am trying to stay positive but I'm so worried about metastasis. I'm sorry to be so negative but I don't want to burden my husband or family with these fears.

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Hi Sadie,

      I would strongly encourage you to discuss all of this with your husband and family. Shutting them out almost always does more harm than good, both for you and them. Try putting yourself in there shoes. If your husband were the one with cancer, would you want him to not discuss it with you?

      over 5 years ago
    • staceypMD's Avatar

      Hi Sadie,

      I wish you well with your radiation and chemo. Trust in your faith to get you through this experience. Remember laugter is the best medicine. I try mutiple doses everyday. I am newly diagnosed with Stage II Invasive breast cancer hormone positive and aggressive cancer. I will have a lumpectomy on May 4, 2012. I know that I will have to do radiation & chemo. My prayers are with you.

      over 5 years ago

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