• Should I do chemo

    Asked by Horselady46 on Thursday, November 1, 2012

    Should I do chemo

    Ok I have done my first chemo. Was very hard. Had sore throat nausea, headache,extreme fatigue, high temp. All for more than a week. My mouth feel funny and my tongue hurts. When I eat it hurt going down. I don't know if this is really worth going from 30% chance of getting cancer again to 20%. I have 7 more doses left at 2 week intervals. So I am thinkingnit isn't worth all this pain. Plus I have to keep working.

    14 Answers from the Community

    14 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Chemo is to kill the current cancer, not to lower the risk of recurrence. The first one is the hardest. Now that you know what to expect, you can plan for the rest of them. Most of those are fairly common side effects and your oncologist can prescribe things to lessen there severity.

      almost 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I did 6 chemos every 3 weeks....I had awful nausea...took all the pre-meds and anti-nausea meds...the best for me was "BDR" (benadryl, decadron and reglan) suppositories.....also went for IV hydration for 3 days post chemo.....drink lots of water.....I went to bed after each chemo...worked full time, but took chemo day and next day off (TH and F).....Talk to your onc about side effects and see what he/she can do for you to help......chemo is hard, but it is doable.....

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I was told that my recurrence rate was 20% after my mastectomy but would go down to 10% with chemo. I did 6 sessions of CMF 21 days apart. I had every side effect you could imagine (read my blog about it if you want - nancebeth.blogspot.com) but I was determined to comeplete it. I worked 10 hour days running a summer camp, not the best place to be while on chemo, but I only missed chemo once due to low counts. Obviously it is only you who can make the decision to stop or continue. I personally am trying to do everything in power to make sure it doesn't come back. I am on Tamoxifen now which has horrible side effects but it will help lower my risk so I take it. Good luck.

      almost 4 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      I also had a variety of side effects including throat/neck pain, mouth & throat sores, cough, etc. etc. -- I detailed my journey including my chemo sessions on my wall -- it might give you some insight. Personally, I wanted to be aggressive in my battle against this evil enemy so I had a bi-lateral mastectomy -- 8 chemos (2 week intervals) -- 35 Radiations (5 days a week for 7 weeks - had to take one week off to allow burning to heal) -- and I am now on Arimidex for 5 years. Hopefully, you will be able to continue any and all treatment that will help you to win this battle. I wish you luck. Keep us updated.

      almost 4 years ago
    • princess123's Avatar

      I have inflamatory Breast cancer which has made it's way to lymph nodes, spine and liver. I was told by my doctor she can't cure me, she can only treat me. I will be on treatment the rest of my life. The week after my treatments are horrible. I do take extra pain meds during this time. I remember how I felt when my Dad died and then when my Mom died. I want to put off that feeling for my kids and grandkids as long as possible. That's why I want to fight this for the long haul. I just hate the thought of my kids going through that.
      I also have the support and prayers of not only my family but lots of friends as well. I don't think I could do this without support.

      almost 4 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar

      Percentages, numbers...sometimes I wonder what it all means. On what side of the figures will I end up? I, too, experienced many side effects and had many miserable days. The nurses in the chemo room were fabulous about recommending things to help me and I did make two calls to them in between treatments for additional help along the way. They have seen just about everything. I had to do some extra treatments which I didn't want to do but I forced myself. Why? To ease my mind. By that time, I had forgotten all about the numbers. I had come that far, so why not do it all. I know two other women personally who quit after four treatments; they are fine with their decisions and are doing well several years later. But me? I had to do it, go all the way. Talk to your oncologist again for sure. It has to be your decision. Peace of mind...it's everything, really.

      almost 4 years ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      Chemo is hard on us and I am sorry that you are having such a miserable time. But the chemo is giving that cancer a hard time as well! Stick with it, one chemo at a time. Before you know it, it will be over. Use every bit of support around you to help you through.

      almost 4 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      You should definitely continue chemo and be sure to mention your side effects to your Oncologist. There are tons of meds out there that can help you quite a bit with what you're experiencing. With my chemo, nausea was the worst. Zofran is probably the best anti-nausea medicine you can get. There are quite a few different types of mouth wash for the sores in your mouth as well. I certainly hope you feel better. Chemo is rough but worth it in the end.

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Just another point regarding statistics and recurrence: A recurrence occurs if there are any remaining cancerous cells after treatment. Every diagnostic tool (scans, biopsies, blood tests, etc.) have a margin of detectability, so even if all tests indicate no evidence of disease there still can be remaining cancer cells that will eventually cause a recurrence. Chemo treatment used after tests indicate NED (no evidence of disease) is when this statistic applies. In other words, historically, for every 100 patients, 70 of them who did not have chemo have not had a "recurrence" yet and 80 of them who did have chemo have not had a recurrence yet. Rather than focus on the 10 other people that have benefited from chemo, I would suggest you focus on yourself and your confidence level that your pre-cancer treatment got every single cancer cell.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Paw's Avatar

      Hi Horselady. Good question. The answer lies within you. There are pros and cons with chemo and other non chemo medications. It's a personal decision you have to make and I hope that we can help you. I have taken 4 different kinds of chemo with numerous side effects. If I have to take chemo again, I would regardless of the side effects. I am currently taking a chemo pill and its like every month, there's a new side effect. The first one is usually the hardest. Talk to your doctor about your side effects and I pray that the remainder of your treatment are less painful.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      In the end, it is your decision. You should decide based on what is best for you.

      I really do think you should talk to your doctor about the side effects. He may be able to offer help. Also, talk to the nurses at your treatment center. My center offered a lot of alternative/complementary treatments--things like accupuncture, yoga, reiki (I think I spelled that correctly), etc. Some of these sound a bit off the wall, but others say that they help with side effects. The key here is the word "complementary." You do this stuff along with your regular treatments.

      almost 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Lot's of good advice. Yes the side effects are awful and the first treatment is the worst. I would continue with the treatment, but only you can decided what is right for you. FYI I did not have chemo after my lumpectomy, for a small (less the 1CM) stage 1 trip neg tumor, though I did have radiation, because I was (and still am) being treated for advanced Kidney cancer. Unfortunately 13 months after I completed my radiation treatment my Breast cancer Metastasized (a small lesion in my liver) - would this have happened if I had chemo as well, we will never know. The decision was made based on the odds, and it the oncologist all felt that treating a known advanced cancer had priority over a "statistical" chance of a reoccurrence of the breast cancer.

      almost 4 years ago
    • debra223's Avatar

      I too was given a number that would reduce my odds by about the same amt. I had stage 1 no lymph nodes involved.Was told had to do radiation before surgery(lumpectomy/reductions) so being told to do chemo as a precaution was a hugh shock-based on oncotype lab. But when my oncologist said doing it now would be my only chance to try to stop it from coming back because if it does,it's a re-occurance of the original breast cancer and not curable at that point only treatable, I felt I no choice, wanted to do all I could to be sure it wouldn't come back. It was 4 months and not fun. But it is do-able and you can and will make it!!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar

      I am SO sorry you have to keep working! That would be very difficult to say the least. There is no way you can retire or take time off? Chemo is hard! But we do survive. Your oncologist can keep you comfortable but we do sure get weak & fatigued. I am 2 years out from chemo & radiation & I am fine. I doubt I would be without treatment. Chemo is how you fight cancer! What does your doctor say? For me, I will use every tool in my power to beat this horrid disease. Good luck to you & remember, chemo sucks, but it is not forever, it just feels like it! Bless you.

      almost 4 years ago

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