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Chemo or not?

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sandra2201 View Drop Down

Joined: Jan 18 2013
Location: Texas
Status: Offline
Points: 15
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote sandra2201 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Chemo or not?
    Posted: Jan 21 2013 at 9:32am
Hi, I had TNBC back in 2005 which was big 2.8 cm but no nodes involvement and did chemo and rads. Now in 2012 found another TNBC on my left side.  Totally new cancer .  Had it removed and found it to be only .5x .3 x .3 cm in size.  Half a cm more in millimeter size.  Was told to do 1 week rads (naturally) but was given the option for chemo since they kept saying it was tiny, tiny, tiny. Chemo of carbonplatin and taxal together for 4 rounds.  Ok course onc said its up to me if I want to do it.  Talked to the surgon and she said the margins were all clear and no lymph nodes invasion.  I asked if she had my history would she do it and she said no. "she had cancer last year hormones involement" so she kinda knows what we are going thru. Tested negative for BRAC 1 and 2. 
One minute Im like yes lets do chemo again, but then I didnt have a reacurrence just a new one 7 years later.  Have to make mind up quickly.  Anyone have a similar story of such a small turmor and what there doctors said.
Confussed and worried.
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ann u View Drop Down
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Joined: Jan 08 2010
Location: Arizona
Status: Offline
Points: 181
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ann u Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 21 2013 at 10:26am

I had a second occurrence in the opposite breast from my first occurence a little over three years ago that was caught on my normal mammogram - only 3mm. I choose a bilateral mastectomy this time around.  I had no lymph node involvement and clean margins.  My oncologist did not recommend any chemo, even though that is all we TNBCers have.  I have to tell you I was nervous about not doing chemo, but as my oncologist pointed out, chemo has some nasty long term side effects too.  

I think the only thing you can do is get a second opinion, and then make a choice you can be comfortable with.  So far, so good for me - 

8/06: IDC 1cm, 0/9 lymph nodes, lumpectomy, Mammosite radiation, 4 x A/C
5/07: BRCA1+ (5382insC)
11/09: IDC 3mm, double mastectomy w/reconstruction

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Grateful for today View Drop Down
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Joined: Sep 21 2011
Location: U.S.A.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Grateful for today Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 21 2013 at 10:48am

Sending caring and positive thoughts.
To say "What a shock after 7 1/2 years" is a big understatement.
Thank goodness the small lesion was found so early.

I do not have a similar story.
Did have the thought.......Since you are in Texas, how difficult would it be to consider a consult
at MD Anderson?   Your situation seems like it is one of the very, very gray areas on what to do.
If not MD Anderson, would you consider a consult at another NCCN or NCI cancer center?

To check if there is a NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) Cancer Center       
      in your area.
To check if there is a NCI (National Cancer Institute) Cancer Center in your area.
     For appointments at a NCI Center, ask for the TNBC oncologist.
As you read the posts on the forums, you will see that some members have consulted with:
Ana Maria Gonzalez Angulo, MD              
        MD Anderson Cancer Center              Houston
If you decide on an MD Anderson consult, consider posting again for more specific information on doing that quickly.   

Research and gather information as you are doing. You and your physician will make the best decision
for you.

With supportive thoughts,
Grateful for today..............Judy
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ReneeK View Drop Down

Joined: Jan 27 2013
Location: Tulsa, OK
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ReneeK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 27 2013 at 1:34am
Hi Sandra 2201,
In 1992, I had two separate tumors in my left breast that were multi-focal, ER+ and PR+ and in 3 lymph nodes. I had a mastectomy and high dose chemo in a clinical trial. I learned in 2009 that I was positive for BRCA2.
I was diagnosed in Dec., 2012, with TNBC in my remaining breast that was 5 mm x 6 mm in size, Grade 2, and no lymph node involvement. I am now 67 years old. I had a mastectomy on Dec. 17. The same oncologist who treated me very aggressively in 1992 did not want me to have chemo this time.  He said that he was afraid that he was going to have to twist my arm NOT to have chemo. Like the other poster's oncologist, he said that chemo is very nasty. He said that it would make a negligible difference in my chances of survival, and that the risk was not worth the benefit. He would have recommended chemo if the tumor had been larger.
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btstark2003 View Drop Down
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Joined: Apr 24 2010
Location: St. Louis area
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote btstark2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 31 2013 at 7:34am

Have you made your decision yet? It is such a tough one because the adjuvant chemo is certainly no guarantee against a recurrence, and taxol/carboplatin will be no cakewalk. Its so great that your latest tumor was caught at such a small size and there is no LN involvement.

The last time i had to make a tough decision like this (whether to enroll in a ph 1 clinical study or take xeloda for lung mets) i asked all the experts i knew (my docs and my oncology researcher colleagues) and then asked God to give me a sign. Within 3 hours my doc called me and 2 colleagues called me amd said i should do the study.

Good luck and God bless!
2008 Stg1 TNBC, LX, FEC+T, rads
2010 2.5cm tumor BRCA-, BMX,CMF
2011 LN mets, Gem/Carbo, surgery, rads
2012 lung mets, PI3Ki/taxo
2013 anti-PD-1
2014/15 Xeloda, IMMU-132, eribulin
Aug 2015 Keytruda
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