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Is Chemo Worth It For Breast Cancer

How You Have Chemotherapy

What Is the Cost of Chemotherapy?

You usually have treatment into your bloodstream .

You might have treatment through a long plastic tube that goes into a large vein in your chest. The tube stays in place throughout the course of treatment. This can be a:

  • central line
  • PICC line
  • portacath

If you don’t have a central line you might have treatment through a thin short tube . The cannula goes into a vein in your arm each time you have treatment.

What Do Cold Caps Feel Like

As youd expect cold caps are very cold, and they can be quite heavy. Some women describe having a headache while wearing one.

I did use the cold cap and can only explain the experience as having a severe ice cream headache or brain freeze for 1015 minutes. Once the freezing had taken place I did not feel the cold cap anymore.


I found it very uncomfortable, heavy and unpleasant. It gave me a bad headache.


It was worse for first half hour then became bearable and, as the time went on, no problem at all.


Because the cap is worn before and after treatment, it means youll probably be at the hospital for longer.

Is Worth To Do A Palliative Chemo

So the oncologist found out my primary lung cancer has spread to my breast.First he said I have lots of treatment options.Now he and his “brilliant”team refused me the surgery,radio and also immunotherapy.I was offered only a chemotherapy.

I understand it’s just for me buying few months before I will head to the cemetery.i am only 42 I want more then few months.Is it worth it to do it?

I am really down I don’t want to leave the house I want to refuse to eat or drink.Why they don’t want to do more for me?

Hi ya ..

Cancer still manages to shock me over the last two years I’ve been here … it’s beond crule ..

If I were you I’d go on Marie Currie home page and call them .. have your questions written down … as it’s easy to forget them .. ask them how you can find out why they have changed course … I can’t get my head around that either .. I’ve heard some good things about immunotherapy… though I don’t know the criteria … but find out where to go .. or if you have your oncology team number give them a call and tell them just how confused and angry it’s made you …

I’m here most days .. if you want a chat or vent .. sending you a vertual hug… Chrissie

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Why Might Your Doctor Recommend Chemotherapy

Your doctor might recommend chemotherapy after surgery if:

  • You are younger than 35. Women younger than 35 usually have a more aggressive type of breast cancer.
  • Your breast cancer was bigger than a pea. Breast cancers that are at least 1 cm are more likely to come back later.
  • Your breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under your arm. If that’s the case, there is a bigger chance that the cancer may also have spread to other places in your body.
  • Your breast cancer is HER-2 positive or triple-negative. These types of cancer tend to grow faster and spread more quickly.

Your doctor may use a genetic test to find your risk for having your cancer come back. This information can help you and your doctor decide about chemotherapy.

Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer

Study: Chemo Unnecessary In Many Cases Of Early

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. It is often used to treat breast cancer. Your healthcare team will consider your personal needs to plan the type and amount of radiation, and when and how it is given. You may also receive other treatments.

Radiation therapy is given for different reasons. You may have radiation therapy to:

  • lower the risk of the cancer coming back, or recurring, after surgery
  • shrink a tumour before surgery
  • treat breast cancer that comes back, or recurs, in the area of a mastectomy
  • relieve pain or control the symptoms of advanced breast cancer

Doctors use external beam radiation therapy to treat breast cancer. During external beam radiation therapy, a machine directs radiation through the skin to the tumour and some of the tissue around it.

Some women may not be able to have radiation therapy because they already had radiation therapy to the chest or breast. Doctors may not offer radiation therapy to women with lung problems, damaged heart muscles and certain connective tissue diseases.

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Big Misconception About Cancer Treatment In Rural Areas: Experts

Image:SABC News

Medical experts say theres still a big misconception about cancer treatment in rural communities. They say although cancer medication is expensive, some people are afraid of chemotherapy.

Many cancer patients in rural areas still find it difficult to get treatment. As Breast Cancer Awareness month draws to a close, we take a look at cancer treatment chemotherapy. This treatment uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer. We take a look at how two-time cancer survivor, Lindiwe Ntuli Tloabatla, deals with her cancer treatment.

The mother of two has been here before but each time, it feels like the first time. 52-year-old Lindiwe Ntuli-Tloubatla was first diagnosed with cervical cancer in the year 2 000. Years later it was discovered that the cancer spread to her ovaries and now shes battling Stage Four breast cancer.

Misconception about cancer treatment in rural communities:

Ntuli-Tloabatla is optimistic that she will beat it with the help of chemotherapy. Chemo can be aggressive, especially if youre dealing with aggressive cancer like mine.

This morning, Ntuli was back in the doctors room getting her chemotherapy treatment. She says this treatment is not a walk in the park, as it can be gruelling and can take its toll on the body.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Lebogang Motau on awareness and impact:

Oncology nurse, Adelaide Parsons has encouraged those who are afraid of treatment to start with it as soon as possible.

Chemo Only Contributes About 2% To Overall 5

This is probably also something that your doctors didnt mention.

It is important to remember that the 2.1% average can be deceptive. Some cancers do respond better to chemo than others.

According to this research, the best results from chemotherapy are in treating testicular cancer.

In testicular cancer, chemo is 41.8% effective toward 5-year survival.

In Hodgkins Disease, chemo is 35.8% effective toward 5-year survival.

Still not great. Would you hire an auto mechanic who had a 42% success rate at fixing cars?

You can read and download the entire study HERE.

Make sure you look at the tables on page 3 and 4. These tables show the survival rate in the US and Australia, with chemo treatments, for each type of cancer.

You will notice that the survival rate for some cancers after chemo treatment has a dash . That means ZERO effectiveness of chemotherapy toward 5-year survival. This includes pancreatic cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, melanoma, kidney, bladder, and uterine cancers.

And yet chemotherapy is still prescribed to treat many these cancers today, over a decade after this study was published.

And although not included in this research, chemo does have a better success rate on leukemia and some childhood cancers.

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Most Women In The Mid

The new study looked at the 6,711 women from the trial who fell in the mid-range of 11 to 25. The goal of the study was to find out if these women could safely skip the chemotherapy.

Following surgery, the women were randomly assigned to receive chemotherapy followed by hormone therapy, or hormone therapy alone. The study was intended to measure invasive disease-free survival, the proportion of women who had not died, or had their cancer return, or developed a new cancer. Results were very similar between the 2 groups.

  • Five years after treatment, the rate of invasive disease-free survival was 93.1% for those who had chemo and 92.8% for those who did not.
  • Nine years after treatment, the rate of invasive disease-free survival was 84.3% for those who had chemo and 83.3% for those who did not.

Rates of overall survival were also very similar between the 2 groups.

  • Five years after treatment, the rate of overall survival was 98.1% for those who had chemo and 98.0% for those who did not.
  • Nine years after treatment, the rate of overall survival was 93.8% for those who had chemo and 93.9% for those who did not.

Is Chemotherapy Necessary Before And After Having A Mastectomy

How Does Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer Work?

Home / Media Hub / Blog / Is Chemotherapy Necessary Before and After Having a Mastectomy?

When it comes to treating breast cancer, many people have questions about treatment options. Does a patient need chemotherapy before or after they have a mastectomy?

For most patients, the mastectomy is performed first and is followed by chemotherapy or other suitable treatments. But some patients have better success if that order is reversed and they receive chemotherapy before their surgery. It is important to discuss these options with your doctor or surgeon to find out which they recommend for optimal results.

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How Is Chemotherapy Given

Chemo drugs for breast cancer are typically given into a vein , either as an injection over a few minutes or as an infusion over a longer period of time. This can be done in a doctors office, infusion center, or in a hospital setting.

Often, a slightly larger and sturdier IV is required in the vein system to administer chemo. These are known as central venous catheters , central venous access devices , or central lines. They are used to put medicines, blood products, nutrients, or fluids right into your blood. They can also be used to take out blood for testing.

There are many different kinds of CVCs. The most common types are the port and the PICC line. For breast cancer patients, the central line is typically placed on the side opposite of the underarm that had lymph nodes removed for the breast cancer surgery.

Chemo is given in cycles, followed by a rest period to give you time to recover from the effects of the drugs. Cycles are most often 2 or 3 weeks long. The schedule varies depending on the drugs used. For example, with some drugs, the chemo is given only on the first day of the cycle. With others, it is given for a few days in a row, or once a week. Then, at the end of the cycle, the chemo schedule repeats to start the next cycle.

Adjuvant and neoadjuvant chemo is often given for a total of 3 to 6 months, depending on the drugs used. The length of treatment for advanced breast cancer depends on how well it is working and what side effects you have.

Key Points To Remember

  • Chemotherapy is sometimes used after surgery for early-stage breast cancer to help lower the chances that your breast cancer will come back.
  • Some types of cancer have a very small chance of coming back. Women who have those types of cancer may not need chemo. There are gene tests that may show whether having chemo will help you reduce your chances that the cancer will return.
  • Your age, type of cancer, tumor size, and hormone receptor status have an effect on how well chemo will work to keep your cancer from coming back.
  • Different medicines used for chemo have different side effects. Your doctor can give you other medicines to help you deal with side effects like nausea and vomiting. Some women are bothered a lot by the side effects, but some aren’t.
  • The drugs used for chemo can be very expensive. Insurance policies don’t always cover the whole cost. If you have no insurance, your doctor may be able to help you find drug companies or organizations that will help you pay for this treatment.

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No Question Chemo Is Worth It

July 27, 2001 — The benefits of long-term chemotherapy following surgery for early breast cancer appear to outweigh the side effects and other negative aspects associated with treatment.

“Women with breast cancer always want to know how long they’ll live after a diagnosis of breast cancer,” says Bernard F. Cole, PhD.

To help answer that question, Cole and colleagues evaluated 18,000 women with breast cancer who were enrolled in 47 different international trials from Texas to Tunisia. All women were under 50.

Compared with those who did not undergo chemotherapy after surgery, women who did gained approximately a 10-month advantage in terms of a cancer recurrence and about a five-month advantage in terms of their overall survival. For women ages 50-69, the benefits were not as great.

“A physician might ask a patient, ‘How willing are you to endure these side effects for the possibility of gaining 10 months of relapse-free survival or five months of overall survival?’ And her answer might depend on not just medical issues, but other life issues as well,” says Cole, an assistant professor of community and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, N.H.

These factors include the size of the tumor and whether lymph nodes under the arms are affected, as well as the estrogen-receptor status of the tumor. Breast tumors that are estrogen-receptor positive are less aggressive and typically have a better prognosis.

If Chemo ‘killed’ Everything

70% of Women with Common Breast Cancer Are Better Off ...

Then that would be a cure – it isn’t! THe different types are different. ER/PR/Her2 status is different for each of us as is Stage/grade/etc.

Very simplistically as it was explained to me for me – chemo neo-adjuvant to try to get it to shrink and form margins so surgeon had a chance of getting it. Then surgery to remove all that surgeon could find. Then another chemo to attack any that was ‘floating’ around in the lymph system or anywhere. Then rads to re-hit the direct area effected ‘just in case’.

Only you can decide what you want to do.

Winyan – The Power Within


Rads kill stray cancer cells left from the scalpel. If your onco suggests it as part of your treatment, I hope you will go ahead with them. They aren’t easy, but, you can do it.

Hugs, Noel

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Do I Need Genetic Counseling And Testing

Your doctor may recommend that you see a genetic counselor. Thats someone who talks to you about any history of cancer in your family to find out if you have a higher risk for getting breast cancer. For example, people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage have a higher risk of inherited genetic changes that may cause breast cancers, including triple-negative breast cancer. The counselor may recommend that you get a genetic test.

If you have a higher risk of getting breast cancer, your doctor may talk about ways to manage your risk. You may also have a higher risk of getting other cancers such as ovarian cancer, and your family may have a higher risk. Thats something you would talk with the genetic counselor about.

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How Is Chemotherapy Given For Breast Cancer

Chemotherapy drugs are given intravenously or orally . Once the drugs enter the bloodstream, they are delivered to all parts of the body to reach cancer cells that may have spread beyond the breast. As a result, chemotherapy is considered a systemic form of breast cancer treatment.

Chemotherapy is given in cycles of treatment followed by a brief recovery period. When given after surgery, the entire chemotherapy treatment generally lasts three to six months, depending on the type of drugs given. When chemotherapy is being used to treat breast cancer that has spread to other organs, chemotherapy may be given for a longer period of time .

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Increased Risk Of Leukemia

Very rarely, certain chemo drugs can cause diseases of the bone marrow, such as myelodysplastic syndromes or even acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of white blood cells. If this happens, it is usually within 10 years after treatment. For most women, the benefits of chemo in helping prevent breast cancer from coming back or in extending life are far likely to exceed the risk of this rare but serious complication.

Calculating Chemo Success Rates For Different Cancers

Having chemotherapy for breast cancer – patient guide

People usually receive chemotherapy, or chemo, alongside other treatments, such as surgery and radiotherapy. This can make it difficult for researchers to determine which therapy has what effect.

As such, it is not possible to provide success rates for chemotherapy alone. The following examples show overall survival rates for people with different types of cancer, along with the percentage of those receiving chemotherapy as part of their treatment.

The statistics below are from the American Cancer Societys 20162017 report on cancer treatment and survivorship. The figures all refer to people in the United States.

This report uses 5-year relative survival rates, which describe the percentage of people who live for at least 5 years after their cancer diagnosis.

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