• it seems that most people are getting chemo, and was wondering what the criteria for that is

    Asked by Doberwomyn on Monday, January 21, 2013

    it seems that most people are getting chemo, and was wondering what the criteria for that is

    I see so much of chemo and I was told not indicated unless the lymph nodes were involved. I have learned there is lots of variation among doctors in treatment from patients.

    15 Answers from the Community

    15 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Generally speaking, chemo is used when their is a large tumor, multiple tumors, cancer cells that are contained within well defined tumors, or if their is cancer in multiple organs or tissue area. Chemo is a systemic treatment, so it is most often used to reduce the area of cancer so that the remaining are can be removed with surgery, treating with radiation, or managed with other treatments. A small, well defined tumor, with no metastases generally doesn't require chemo.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      Nancyjack is corect thaty chemo is used if the cancer has matasticized; however, it is also usedif tere is a chance that the cancer may have matasticized but can not been seen. A 1mm tumor has about a billion cells in it and a CT scan usually can't see tumore smaller that about 4mm, and somtimes those little suckers sneak out and hide. So chermo is often used as a precaution for stage III cancers or particularly agressive stage II cancers. Also if the margins around the tumor removed during surgery were small chemo oe radiuation might also be used as a precaution. Chemo works best on small tumors so getting them early makes sense. The objective is to give the maximum time before the cancer returns, Hopefully forever!!

      Since your cancer is stage I no chemo is necessary as it was cough early. I know that there is a fear that it will come back, but with regular checkups if it does return it should be caught early. No one really wants chemo if the don't need it, particularly after having chemo. Good Luck!!!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I had 3 tumors in my breast as well as lymph involvement....I was told from the get go after first biopsy that mastectomy and chemo was indicated even before I saw the onc.....then more biopsies and more cancer found. At the time I was Dx in 2006, theOncotype Dx was done at the time on node negative only....and that is often used to determine the need for chemo.......
      If you are unsure, get a second opinion for peace of mind....

      almost 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Each type of cancer and stage have their own protocol. Many women with stage 1 breast cancer get prophylactic chemo after a lumpectomy and before or after radiation. If you test BRCA positive and/or have triple negative you are more likely to have this type of chemo.

      almost 4 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      If chemo has not been prescribed and you are uncomfortable with that decision, you should definitely get a second opinion. Everyone is different and there are cases where chemo may not be indicated. However, cancer is such an evil and elusive enemy --- If just one little cell drifts away, it may rear its ugly head again in the future. Personally, I was aggressive - a bilateral mastectomy instead of lumpectomy followed by chemo and radiation. Of course, I have no guarantee but I do have the peace of mind knowing that I have done all that I can. I wish you the very best!

      almost 4 years ago
    • blondie's Avatar

      Did my chemo sessions in the doctor's office. He had a lab, the lab prepared the drugs for the IVs. At times there can be 6 patients getting chemo at the same time. My session was every 2 weeks. At one meeting he said that my progress was so good that I can go 3 weeks. Discovered that I was allergic to Tamoxifen. Had only 3 episodes of nausea. He has his own foundation (Jabboury Foundation). He was recently named one of the best doctors in the world.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Teddy's Avatar

      It also depends on what kind of cancer it it is. I have triple negative breast cancer. I was stage 1 but due to the aggressive type still did chemo. I still had local reoccurrence and had to do chemo and radiation 1 year later. I am good now and it has been 3 years.

      almost 4 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar

      Nancyjac is right but each case is looked at individually. Have you had an Oncotype test? You might ask Bout that if not. I had 1 tumor that was fairly large & 2 very small ones. No node involvement either. I chose Lumpectomy because it seemed less invasive to me. My surgeon was certain I would only need radiation. But because I had Colon Cancer the year before and scored fairly high on the Oncotype test, my oncologist wanted me to do chemo. If you are uncomfortable with your oncologist's opinion, get a second opinion to ease your mind. Most of the time if there is no node involvement and you are Stage I, you can skip chemo. Good luck to you!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I was stage 1a, mixed type tumor breast cancer. My tumor was 1.9 cm. My Oncotype DX score was 24 so chemo was recommended but not required. Certain cancers are very slow growing and a cancerous cell of a few might have migrated out of the area of concern, so chemo can kill any of those cells. Talk to your oncologist if you have questions as to why you would or wouldn't need chemo.

      almost 4 years ago
    • sunne's Avatar

      after the biospy, I was scheduled for radiation, but when I went in for followup, the Onc, had changed and decided to do chemo first, and I did not know about the radiation until after the last chemo and he cheerfully said and now radiation. did not think i could do it, but i did.

      almost 4 years ago
    • debra223's Avatar

      Chemo is also used if the results of an Oncotype lab warrant it-regardless of lymph node involvement. I was diagnosed as stage 1, lumpectomy, no lymph nodes-knew I had to do radiation but was shocked to find onc recommeded chemo based on lab results. Wasn't at the cut off but close to it. She explained they can't tell if any cells escaped after surgery and this is 1 shot to stop it-otherwise if it comes back it's a re-occurance of orig cancer. So I opted to do it before the radiation-did 4 rounds of Taxotere & Cyctoxan.Wanted to do all I could and not be sorry later...

      almost 4 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar

      As far as I've heard, once a lymph node is involved, you get chemo. Blessings!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Marshah's Avatar

      I had my surgery/chemo/radiation 7 years ago. What I learned then might have changed but the criteria at that time was: the type of cancer it is, the size of the tumor, the type of surgery to remove and whether there was lymph node involvement where put into a computer program. You then received a value that would indicate whether you had chemo and/or radiation.

      almost 4 years ago
    • barbaraanne's Avatar

      I was diagnosed at stage 1, (tumor was 1cm) the cancer did not spread to my lymph nodes and i am receiving 4 rounds of chemo therapy and will be receiving radiation afterwards. The reason I am receiving this extensive treatment is because I have Triple Negative Breast Cancer, which is a very aggressive cancer and I can't be treated w/any type of hormones.. my Doctor showed me the survival rates of patients w/the treatment & w/o. There wasn't a "big big" difference, but enough to make me decide to have it... Best of luck to you..

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      As most have written, tumor size, lymph node involvement, Her2 status. There's a diagnostic tool called OncotypeDx for smaller tumors, that tells Drs whether or to you need chemo based on various cell markers on your tumor. Have you had it done? If not ask for it.

      almost 4 years ago

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