• Has anyone Not have to do either chemo or radiation

    Asked by little_fut on Saturday, March 16, 2013

    Has anyone Not have to do either chemo or radiation

    I know I'm probably jumping the gun but if all comes out well with my pathology report, will I still have to get treatment or am I done? Has anyone not had to get treatment?

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      It is likely your oncologist will recommend radiaition. Since your are HER2 positive, heceptin infusions will be likely as well as either Tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor since your are ER positive as well. Whether your doctor recommends general chemo as well, depends on a number of factors.

      The first time I had breast cancer, I had a lumpectomy, radiation, and 5 years of Tamoxifen. The second time I had breast cancer, I had chemotherapy, herceptin, bilateral mastectomy, radiation, and am currently on an aromatase inhibitor for at least 5 years.

      over 5 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar
      AlizaMLS (Best Answer!)

      Hi little_fut,

      It's Aliza the Medical Librarian...;) I'm trained (because I have a Master's degree in Library Science) to look at your entire entry (question) and then dissect it into whatever question(s) you are asking. There's a specific method to my madness...;) You have two questions here.

      The first question is whether there are women who've not had to do either chemo or radiation? I can answer that from personal experience and the answer's yes. I didn't need to have chemo or radiation. I was lucky. I was diagnosed in August 2012 with Stage I Breast Cancer, and then went to find a breast surgeon on the advice of my ob/gyn (contrary to the advice of some who advise locating an oncologist first). I tried 3 surgeons, and on the recommendation of my Rabbi (whose wife has Hodgkin's disease) and my cat's Vet (whose wife was a breast cancer patient), I chose a surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering (re locating a breast surgeon vs. an oncologist - if you're a breast cancer patient and you come to Sloan Kettering, you'll be instructed to choose a breast surgeon first because she/he will be your medical team leader).

      In Dec. I had a simple mastectomy, with no lymph node involvement. They performed an Oncotype genetic test on my tumor. This is a projection of the likelihood of a recurrence over a 10 year period. My score was very low- as low as the average person on the street, so it was determined that chemotherapy wouldn't benefit me as far as preventing a recurrence. The only medication I take to treat my cancer and prevent a recurrence is Tamoxifen because I'm ER+. So the short answer to your question is yes, there are people who escape without radiation or chemo. But, and there's a but, there are a variety of factors that go into being "lucky" - the Stage of the Tumor, the lymph node involvement, and other factors that the pathologist determines about the tumor (in some cases it's not necessary to do an Oncotype test because it's clear that the person needs chemotherapy [it wasn't so clear with me at first - they did 2 other tests before they ran that one]). I don't know statistics on how many people don't need either chemo or radiation after their tumor is removed. I'd have to do some medical research or perhaps some of the medical professionals on the site have these stats available. I don't know if you really want to research this. Let me know if you do.

      The second question you're asking is if your pathology report comes out well will you need to have chemo or radiation? Well, we all hope your pathology report comes out well as mine did and you don't need it, but at the same time, no one here is psychic or wants to tell you yes, you'll be fine, in case you're going to need chemo. I'm not any kind of authority on chemo and again as a Librarian, I don't /cannot (choose your verb) give medical advice (even if I know the answer [it's unethical [and technically illegal]) -you need to speak to an oncologist for that, but I believe they tailor chemo for not only the kind of cancer, but for the severity and other factors, so some people get off with a "lesser sentence than others" so to speak.

      My Rabbi's wife, the lady with the Hodgkin's disease taught me something that she learned from a support group she attended and that was "Don't die a thousand deaths," meaning you can only die one death, don't waste time having anxiety attacks every time you have to wait for results from a blood test or a scan, etc. It's really great advice. It's also hard to follow. Take things as they come. Use this site for support. Feel free to message or email me offsite.

      My good wishes for the best possible outcome for you,

      over 5 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      I forget if you had a mastectomy? If you did,,no radiation required

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      That isn't necessarily true Nomadicme. Lots of breast cancer survivors who have had mastectomies, including me, have had radiation. Even with a mastectomy, there can be stray cancer cells in the chest wall and axilary areas even if sentinel lymph node dissection is negative.

      over 5 years ago
    • DianaL's Avatar

      My path report was clean in surgery, but not the final one. I was staged a high1 or a low 2. After I saw my surgeon for the final path report I was told me mastectomy was next! After the bilateral mastectomy he told me the good news was a clean path report and no radiation needed, he thought chemo would be. Talked with my oncologist and he did want to do chemo to be as proactive as possible. I had Taxotere and Cytoxin. The worst part of chemo was the first couple of nights where I had insomnia, no nausea, etc. I had 4 treatments every 3 weeks. The last two I had fatigue. So chemo and a AI pill has been it for me. It is doable whatever is recommended for you! Good Luck!

      over 5 years ago
    • smlisboa's Avatar

      Hi, I was staged 1a triple negative cancer. My nodes were few and clean, but I still had to do chemo. I was very upset learning that all my test were looking good and still chemo. The only thing i recommend for you to do at this point is to become educated. Go find out the different kinds of breast cancer and recommended treatments. I was told that even though your nodes come out clean and margins are clear, there could be a cell that is astray and you could get cancer again. So chemo is given to make sure all cancer cells are destroyed. Chemo can be given for many reasons, this is just one of them. The more you become informed the less you will be shocked or upset of your treatment plan. Be an advocate for your life. But yes there are ppl who don't have to do radiation or don't do the chemo IV treatments. There are ppl who just take pills. There are so many variables that are involved to determine what is best for you. Just enjoy today and dream for tomorrow. God bless you. Take care.

      over 5 years ago
    • nonnie917's Avatar

      I am a both ER and PR Positive, but negative on the HER2/NEU. So happy about that HER2 being negative. Don't know anymore than that regarding HER2. Just know its good news I don't have it that the other ladies with me don't have it either. Hang in there everybody your positive day will come and you will dance on the clouds like me. HORRAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY111111111

      over 5 years ago
    • attypatty's Avatar

      Dear Little Fut:
      It's tempting to want to avoid treatment, especially if the surgeon "got it all" and the tumor is gone. The thought of chemotherapy and raditation is scary, and if I have no cancer, why go through it? I had those thoughts, but the testing of my tumor revealed it to be fairly aggressive. So I decided I had to be even more aggressive than the cancer. And so I did it all and am still fighting it with endocrine (hormonal) therapy. It's a very personal decision but it has life impacting consequences. I had a dear friend who chose not to undergo chemotherapy with her first diagnosis of breast cancer. She was cancer free for five years. Then it recurred and spread quickly to her lungs and brain. It was too late for chemotherapy and radiation was used just to give pain relief from her brain tumors. That wasn't a chance I was willing to take. Cancer is stealthy, sneaky, works in the dark, and hides. Chemotherapy is like a million soldiers tracking down cancer cells before they can regroup and attack. Radiation is like a bright light that shines down, exposing cancer cells and drying them up like maggots in the sun. Endocrine therapy suppresses the hormonal food the cancer cells need and starves them to death. The combination of these therapies is scorched earth, take-no-prisoners warfare. Just what's needed to defeat the enemy within that would kill us if it could. So given the opportunity to have chemotherapy and radiation, you can bet my life that I took it!
      Fight On,

      over 5 years ago
    • hikerchick's Avatar

      It's amazing how many variables can be in the picture. Your situation will be fairly unique, though it would seem like there should be easy black and white answers. Educating yourself is a critical step.
      For me, there was no reason for chemo after bilat mastectomy. (Stage 1 in 2 places and DCIS in left breast, DCIS everywhere in right.) There was a question as to whether or not to get radiation on one side because of close proximity to chest wall. After 3 rad onc visits, I decided not to do radiation. No hormones for me either. So, finally, you have heard from someone who has done no other treatment than bilat mast. That was over 2 years ago. All is well and I have no regrets. I have tremendous gratitude.

      over 5 years ago
    • Bullhead12's Avatar

      I guess I was lucky. My DCIS was caught very early. I had a previous lumpectomy and opted at this time to have a double mastectomy. My surgeon advised that he felt they would be able to "get it all" and that no chemo/radiation/or tamoxifen would be required. My plastic surgeon was able to immediately put in the implants with the understanding that should my path report show there were still cancer cells then the implants would have to come out and we would have to start radiation immediately. Luckily,my pathology report came back negative and I have been cancer free for 13 months. I was advised that my testing showed only a 3% chance of any reoccurence . My breast surgeon and my plastic surgeon both expressed just how lucky I was that everything fell into place. Having breast cancer in the family and my prior lumpectomy for a premalignant lump was what made my decision. Many factors go into the final decision as to what treatment is needed after surgery. Hopefully you are lucky enough that your path report will come back clear. Take everything one day at a time. You can't obsess every day waiting for the path report; or any other test required. Wishing you luck and good health.

      over 5 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear little_fut,

      I think the response that attypatty gave you re her analogy of chemo to waging war on the cancer was brilliant! If your doc/oncologist feels that this is the path that you should follow, you now have a good idea of a philosophy from which to regard it which may help you through it.

      I also wanted to say that I was especially lucky (I'm not gloating) because I'm also a Lupus patient-have been diagnosed for nearly 20 years and am already immunocompromised from that, so the prospect of chemotherapy for me was indeed very scary (due to potential secondary infections [I was hospitalized twice post-mastectomy with cellulitis]).

      I think many people weather chemotherapy well, if not great. My Primary care doc's Medical Assistant is also being treated where I am (Memorial Sloan Kettering) and when I see her we compare notes-she just finished with her chemo and has come through with flying colors!

      over 5 years ago
    • carter4's Avatar

      I never did chemo or radiation.

      over 5 years ago

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