• what are the determining factors for dr.giving chemo?

    Asked by simplysandy on Tuesday, June 11, 2013

    what are the determining factors for dr.giving chemo?

    I had mastectomy and will be taking arimidex for five years,however I have seen others posts regarding same type and stage of cancer and they are having chemo and radiation. After noting this I asked my Dr. If the reason I wasn't given it was because of some heart problems and if he figured I would be dieing from that before cancer could take me. He said chemo is a poison and didn't elaborate further. This was in a phone conversation. It is not that I want to have chemo but I also don't want to cut my time shorter than necessary!

    5 Answers from the Community

    5 answers
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Hi simplysandy,

      I'm Aliza, A BC patient and the site's unofficial Medical Librarian. Med Librarians do many things-offer referrals to docs, hospitals, institutions, agencies, books, websites, media, as well as research when required or requested. One thing all of us consistently don't do is answer Med questions (sounds funny, I know). The reason for that is, answering med questions (even if we know the correct answer (and often we do [after all we're often the folks who teach physicians how to search for info) is considered practicing medicine sans license which is thought to be a bit illegal...;) However, I am permitted to speak from my own experience as a Cancer patient as well as those of my friends and family who've had Cancer (we number too many), so I shall take a shot at your question, which is a good one (I'm sure there are a few Medical professionals on the site who will also possibly weigh in, so that will be helpful to you a well).

      Re chemo and BC - It depends what Stage you are, i.e., how large your tumor is/was, how invasive inside the breast (whether it has spread outside the ducts or not, and during your mastectomy, whether they find it in the lymph nodes (axillary node removal). These factors point toward many people having chemotherapy.

      Not knowing either your, your BC stage, (you mention heart probs [many different kinds out there{and even if I knew, I'm not permitted to say-bad idea in general for folks to practice medicine by letter}]), I cannot possibly say why your oncologist decided not to pursue chemo. You have however every right to seek a 2nd opinion which should be covered by your insurance (check with them) and I encourage you to do so. A 2nd opinion is almost always a good idea especially if you feel you cannot approach your doctor. Your own oncologist however is obligated to tell you why he won't permit chemo ( you may wish to make an appointment with him-try to go with a friend. These appointments are often not so great to go to alone).

      I hope you find the answers you're seeking and that you have much productive time ahead of you!

      Warmest wishes,

      over 3 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      Only someone who was familiar with the specifics of your pathology report would know why chemo/radiation wasn't recommended for you. I doubt it has to do with your heart problems. Lots of BC patients don't have chemo/radiation, especially those with stage 0 or 1 (but there are other factors.)

      Your doctor owes you a better answer, a much better answer. You have a right to fully understand the decisions about your cancer treatment. Ask again and don't settle for such a glib reply. If your doctor can't answer the most fundamental questions about your condition and treatment that's a serious problem.

      over 3 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      Just to be clear, when I say "serious problem" I'm talking about your doctor's communication skills, not your prognosis.

      over 3 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      I've noticed a lot of ladies w/endometrial cancer have had radiation and chemo, where I've just had radiation. I realized the reason my docs chose chemo only is that I have no discernable tumor left to irradiate. Hopefully, there is a logical reason for your doctor's choice as well. I hope you are able to establish a meaningful dialogue w/your doc.

      over 3 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      A lot depends on what type of BC you have and it's stage. That said, if you feel uncomfortable with your oncologists treatment plan, go for a 2nd opinion. I went for one even though I agreed with mine, I feel that an extra set of eyes and experience can only help my team develop the best treatment plan for me.

      over 3 years ago

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