Breast Cancer Expert Forum
Do I need chemo after a masectomy?
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Questions posted in the Breast Cancer Forum are answered by medical professionals and experts. Topics include Breast Biopsy, Chemotherapy, Hormone Therapy, Lumps, Lumpectomy, Lymph node dissection, Lymphedema, Mammograms, Mastectomy, Radiation Therapy, Reconstruction, Self Breast Exam, and Surgery.

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Do I need chemo after a masectomy?

I had breast cancer surgery in Dec '08. I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. I was told that I was type 2.
My actual tumor sizes were less than a cm.  They both total 0.9 cm. The masectomy was necessary because of multifocal positive margins and my DCIS size was 3.5. My lymph nodes were negative for carcinoma.
I decided to get reconstructive surgery (  tissue expander along with a saline implant).

My question is why chemo if everything was removed and the lymph nodes were negative? My oncologist said that I'm  a high risk but I don't have any history of breast cancer in my family. She suggest that I take 2 mo of chemo (Docetaxel,Carboplatin, Herceptin ) and 7 mo of hormonal **************. Also, what is Her-2 neu status? My estrogen (30%)and progesterone(70%) receptors are positive.
Tags: chemo
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242529_tn?1292452814
Dear Tangee, Decisions about adjuvant chemotherapy or hormonal (antiestrogen) treatment are based on several factors including size of tumor, status of lymph nodes under the arm, the appearance of the cancer under the microscope, the presence or absence of hormone receptors for estrogen and/or progesterone, as well as HER2 status, the general health of the patient etc.  HER2 neu status refers to whether or not these receptors are found in the tumor specimen.  

We can not make specific treatment recommendations for an individual in this forum. We can tell you that antiestrogen treatments are frequently given following surgery for ER-positive breast cancer to reduce the risk of recurrence in the form of metastatic disease. Chemotherapy may add an additional benefit that needs to be weighed against the potential side effects. Her 2 positive tumors generally increase risk to intermediate or high risk which would increase the likelihood of adjuvant chemotherapy being recommended. Your oncologist will be better able to discuss these options with you.

2 Comments
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739091_tn?1300669627
From one breast cancer patient to the other, why wouldn't you choose chemotherapy? It's the best line of defense against a silent killer. You've already lost one breast to it. Why wouldn't you want to kill off the free floating cancer cells that are still in your body? I'll take a little poison anyday over cancer. The treatment isn't like it used to be. I didn't puke once! I didn't even miss one day of work except when I had my mastectomy in March 08 and then I was out for 8 days because my boss wouldn't let me come back to work with drain tubes hanging out of me. Not even 7 weeks of radiation stopped me. Whats a little baldness among friends! lol
Seriously, I sat there getting my poison talking with women who were fighting for their lives again, and again, 2nd and 3rd and yes, 4th time battling cancer. They said to me.. I'm worth it. My kids are worth it. I'll do whatever I have to do. And, so will I, if I have to again. But to ignore cancer cells without frying them to bits with chemo? That's out of the question for me. Best of luck to you and this difficult decision.
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