I am a 44 yr old female- was diagnosed in Dec. with stage II breast cancer - due to size breast conservation was not an options. Grade - 9, Her-2-neu negative, Hormone Rec. negative, Angiolymphatic invasion but node negative. I started chemo in Jan.(AC) my 4th treatment is next week. I have had a difficult time with side effects, they have me on Emend plus 4 other anti-nausea meds. I usually have severe flu like symptoms for 6-7 days and then rebound pretty good for about a week and then do it all over again. My Dr. was first looking at using Taxol for 4 cycles after AC complete and then follow with possible radiation. Now he has stated that we will "discuss" the pros and cons of Cont. at my next treatment. I have tried to find info on my stage cancer with success adding Taxol to AC treatment, I have found research that indicates later stages has ratio of survival/non-recurrence increased b/t 26-30% - however, my Dr. stated that for me it is probably only 1-3%. Is there some info out there with effective rate for my general situation. Also, not sure how Taxol is tolerated for people as compared to AC. Any info that could help me with this decision would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for your help
Dear dgrant: Most of the research using AC + Taxol has been done on higher stages of cancer, where there was a "survival advantage." Having said that, the actual benefit to any individual is difficult to quantify, particularly when there is not much research to support the statistic. Although people can tolerate different drugs much differently, it is unpredictable and there are side effects of all drugs. I think the discussion with your doctor is warranted. For peace of mind, you could also get a formal second opinion with another oncologist (preferably one who specializes in breast cancer) to assist you in making this decision.
I am 47 and had dose dense AC followed by Taxol for stage IIa (1.6 cm & 1 positive node). AC was horrible for 2 days, but Taxol side effects were hardly anything--the difference of night and day. A day of flu-like achiness and numbness in my fingers and toes, was all I experienced--NOTHING like AC. I did have difficulty with the infusions--had allergic reactions twice. Taxol was given for the node involvement, though, so if yours were negative, why would you need it? Maybe because of the angio-lympahtic invasion, which I also had? Radiation was not recommended if I had a mastectomy/reconstruction, which I am having this week. With only DCIS remaining following the biopsy/lumpectomy, I had the option of chemo before or after surgery. Did chemo first so I could decide on surgery, take time off from work, and have hair by summer. Please let me know soon if I can help with any more details, because I won't be available for awhile after tomorrow.
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