• I don't know if chemo is for me. Can I get feedback from someone else and their experience? Did someone decide to not get chemo?

    Asked by MicheleP on Thursday, January 10, 2013

    I don't know if chemo is for me. Can I get feedback from someone else and their experience? Did someone decide to not get chemo?

    21 Answers from the Community

    21 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      None of us know if chemo is for us. If we did we would all be oncologists. If your oncologist is recommending chemo for you, then his/her professional experience indicates that chemo in fact is for you. Cancer treatments are not usually either/or recommendations. I've had chemo, surgeries, radiation, targeted treatment, and hormone treatment. It wasn't like a Chinese menu where I could pick one from column A and one from column B. It required all of it. Chemo is not exactly fun. but I would think dying from untreated cancer would be less fun. We all have had life experiences that were not fun, but necessary, and we all survived them. Another favorite adage of mine....."what ever doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

      over 7 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      My mother didn't want chemo, but she's 88 and chemo would have given her little net benefit. You are young. If the doc recommends chemo I would go with it. Heck, I am going with it. :-)

      Everyone's experience with chemo is different. There are known side effects to specific drugs. But, you won't know precisely what side effects you will get or how difficult they will be until you get the chemo.

      over 7 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I have gone into each phase of treatment with doubts and a million concerns. At each step, I received enough consistent information from my doctors and my own Internet "research" to believe I had to do it. Until there is a better treatment, many of us go through the traditional therapies which includes chemo. Chemo is not fun and it's not easy but it's doable. No one goes into it without concerns.

      over 7 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I wasn't presented with an option to do chemo or not to do chemo...the oncotype test was not out and I had too many positive nodes for the test to be done anyways.....Its been almost 7 years since I heard those dreaded words.....chemo was hard, but it was doable....am I glad I did it....I'd have to say yes, because I'm still here.....I had every Tx available for the type of BC that I had...bilat, chemo, radiation, AI's and ooph.....was it hard...yes, but I want to see all my kids grow up and see grandchildren....If you are unsure about what to do, get a second opinion from another oncologist.....

      over 7 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I had the Oncotype DX testing after I had a bilateral mastectomy. My score gave me results I didn't really want to hear, that chemo was recommended. I went through 6 sessions of CMF cocktail every 21 days. I listened to my oncologist, got a second opinion, listened to that oncologist, and I am glad I made the decision that I did. I feel the net benefits outweighed the side effects and risks of chemo.
      I talked about my decision on my blog
      maybe that will help.

      over 7 years ago
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar

      Michele: The others are right--chemo is NOT fun. But when I finish my 18 weeks of treatments on 1/22, I will be able to look myself in the mirror and honestly say that I've done everything possible to get rid of this cancer...I won't have second thoughts or say "If I coulda, woulda". You may meet some wonderful people by going to chemo--validation and realization concerning your cancer. My oncologist has the best nurses anywhere--who attend to me each time with friendly concern and love. Seeing them once a week has been, believe it or not, a joyful experience for me as they really "get it" and treat me with respect and kindness, knowing what they do about cancer. They offer me a different level of understanding than many of my friends. This decision is yours, but I for one, am glad I did it. No sleepy nights for me, wondering if I should have followed my doc's recommendation that I do it. Good luck & take care.

      over 7 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      I chose not to go for chemo but my situation is different from yours in some ways. I'm stage III, melanona. The Onc didn't give much hope that the chemo would do much more than prolong my life for a couple of months IF the cancer had spread (he wanted to go straight into it, but its a for profit center (emphasis on profit--HUGE building, expansion going on) and I got the feeling he was just going through the paces, not really caring about me) and when questioned closely, couldn't say with or without was the best choice. He is warming up to my point of view as he realizes I'm going into this with open eyes and not just giving up.

      Study the results for your particular cancer and staging (all the results you can find, not just the medical center results, they want you to do chemo). If you find that more people are helped by chemo, then as a stage 1, I would go with it (stage 1 for a lot of cancers is treatable, so chemo seems like a good idea on the face of it). But do your research. Information is your best friend. Second and third opinions are gold.

      over 7 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      I have made every effort to be aggressive in my battle against this evil and elusive enemy -- bilateral mastectomy, chemo, radiation and on Arimidex for 5 years. Personally, I am glad for my choices as I know that I have given it my all. However, everyone is different and has the privilege of making their own choice -- If I were you, the feedback that I would consider most is that from your Oncologist. If chemo is recommended, be assured that you can do it!! Most of us on this site have done it and we are here to support you. Good Luck!

      over 7 years ago
    • lilnursey's Avatar

      I did it all from mastectomy to chemo to hysterectomy the reason was that if I hadn't I always would have wondered what if. so far so good 4 years and counting

      over 7 years ago
    • carter4's Avatar

      Stage 4 breast/53 yrs old - no chemo here - hormonal treatment is keeping the cancer stable - quality over quantity for me - I travel and work full time!

      over 7 years ago
    • carolchristao's Avatar

      Since I was diagnosed, I always trusted my doctors in their recommendations. I am being treated in "the" greatest hospital of my country, so since the beginning I always thought that I should trust them 100%.
      The oncologist told me that I should see the tumor shrinking (it is so huge that my sick breast is much bigger than the normal one) from the 1st chemo. I didn't see it so I got nervous. After 2nd round of chemo, it seemed to be growing... Everybody got nervous about it - me, my husband, the doctors... It seemed then that the cancer cells were not answering to chemo. I had another PET-CT, that showed that even though the tumor had grown, it has less cancer cells and more dead cells (necrosis) inside the tumor. I got so relieved... Every got relieved. Chemo seems to be working.
      The oncologist explained me that it is very rare to find a cancer not responsive to chemo, but it happens. The problem is: to know, you need to do it.
      @MicheleP do you trust your doctors? If you don't, you have the option of another opinion? If you do, just go. I think that for all of us it is like jumping from a high mountain, having the doctors and treatments as our parashoots. We have to jump and trust the parashoot will open.

      over 7 years ago
    • princess123's Avatar

      when I first started with chemo I could hardly walk to the car I was so tired. My boyfriend had to go to the grocery, stand in line for me at the pharmacy. I just couldn't do it. They bombarded me with chemo. Within the first 3 treatments my marker counts went down and I felt so much better. I'm glad I tried the chemo. I hope whatever treatment you go for you will get good results. hang in there.

      over 7 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      Please Michele at your young age, don't mess with this.. Right now I would do what is recommeneded. I was so adamantly against using this harse treatment, but after research, many questions to the oncology team,etc. I found it was the protocol and had the most success. A lot of us, including me are more worried about losing our hair than focusing on losing bad cells floating around in our bodies. If the chemo is not working for you adjustments will be made along the way to make it more tolerable. I ended up with mastectomy, chemo, rads, now Tamoxifen. Just don't see anything else out there that has the rate of survival for the IDC I had.

      over 7 years ago
    • Nellie's Avatar

      I was diagnosed at 47. Even though they told me after surgery that they got it all and no node involvement, my onc said because I was so young he recommended chemo to kill any microscopic cells that might be left behind. I did 4 rounds of taxotere and cytoxan, radiation and now tamoxifen. its not fun, but doable. Please consider your age, yourself and your family. I wish the best for you!

      over 7 years ago
    • leslie48240's Avatar

      Michele...not everyone has such a horrible time with chemo. I know I am the exception...but go into treatment with an open mind. I made up my mind I could not die at this time (too much going on in the family and truly felt I was needed). I had 3 different chemo protocols...the last one being every single week for a full year. Sure, I cried, I lost my hair (got a cutsey wig that made me smile tho) had some loss of feeling in hands and feet....but ...and this is the big BUT ..stage IV and I am still here 5 years later. My hair grew back, feeling returned in hands and feet shortly after treatment ended. I never got ill feeling from the chemo...Dr did give me anti-nausea meds for it. I drank lots of water day before, day of and day after chemo. I always ate 1/2 cheese or peanut butter sandwhich before treatment. I slept when I was tired...much more than usual...I needed it, I'm sure. Was able to keep up my work schedule except for 1/2 day off once a week for the chemo. Got to see two of my children married, and 2 more grandchildren to share my life along with the 5 others. Life is good...don't throw it away. At least try it. best to you, leslie

      over 7 years ago
    • speedy's Avatar

      I did not want chemo but my Onco Type DX came back 60 and I had no choice. My oncologist told me that if I did not have chemo my cancer would be back in a couple of years and he would not be able to help me. I had 6 rounds of chemo, worked 40 hours a week and worked out almost every day to keep up my strength. I took Zofran and did not get sick. Please, just do it, you'll be glad you did. Best wishes.

      over 7 years ago
    • Loafer's Avatar

      I also did not want chemo. Thought I would have a lumpectomy and move onto rads since I was diagnosed as stage 1. When the tumor was tested as triple negative, my onc and surgeon persuaded me that chemo was the necessary protocol. Please do research, seek a second opinion and take all tests available to understand your risks of recurrence.

      Chemo is unpleasant to say the least and there are side effects that vary by person. I was able to work full time and even travel between two rounds. I had primarily fatigue on 4x of T&C, which I believe is chemo lite, the least toxic and shortage duration.

      Hugs and good luck with this difficult decision.

      over 7 years ago
    • Myungclas' Avatar

      I was 47 when I was diagnosed and I got exactly the same advice and followed the same protocol as Nellie. I wouldn't do anything differently if I could go back. You have many years of life ahead of you, and this cancer journey should only be taken once! As others have said, chemo is neither fun nor easy. It's also not impossible. Anyone can do it. You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

      over 7 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      Breast cancer is one of the few cancers (yes you're lucky) where you can actually be cured as there are so many agents. If not cured you can live for a long time - as on 7 to 11 years from diagnosis (contrast this to 2 months survival given to other cancers). A friend's mother lived 7 years (with treatment) after her Stage IV diagnosis.

      You're not being specific, so I'll cover some scenarios. Is your stage very low and you've been told you have a choice on whether or not to have chemo? That indeed is a tough choice. If so, have you had the OncoDx done? That's a well proven tool for decision making regarding chemotherapy. IF your tumor (even DCIS) is Her2, you better get chemo.

      Personally getting a mastectomy was the worst for me (I had no choice for the one breast, the other one I just didn't feel like going through it all again). Chemotherapy put me into menopause, so I'm not able to have children (I was 41, childless, still had hope). I see you're 45, so that shouldn't be as much of a concern? Hair grows back. The experience is not fun, but it does end, and it will hold the hope of enjoying many years that you would (possibly) not have.

      over 7 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar

      What does your oncologist recommend? They are the experts on cancer. You are so young! No one wants chemo. It wasn't fun, but it was doable, as others have said. I hope you fight this horrid disease with every option offered you. You sure don't want to be sorry later! Fight & live! I am over 3 years with No Evidence Of Disease!

      over 7 years ago
    • Tami's Avatar

      Hi Michele, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2008 and had an Oncotype DX test done to show what my chances for a recurrence was. My score was 17, low so the oncologist did not recommend Chemo. I did not want Chemo either so I did not have it. Two years later I was diagnosed with a recurrence and am now Stage IV. Although I was following the doctor's recommendations I now wished I had done everything I could have to stop the Cancer.

      over 7 years ago

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