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Mar 5, 2019 09:34AM
Mar 5, 2019 09:36AM
Beesie's post is SO WELL SAID! We all have to evaluate our own personal risk / benefit scenario and make the decision that is best for us and what we are comfortable with, with full knowledge of the potential benefits in reducing a risk of recurrence as well as all the potential side effects. Just because the doctor said to do something doesn't mean you have to follow it without question... also different doctors say different things, that's why people get second opinions sometimes.
The statistics say that the higher the oncotype score, the more impactful the benefit of chemo is. But there are also plenty of people who have thrived without chemo. Chemo is adjuvant therapy to keep the cancer from coming back, the initial surgery most people do is what removes the actual cancer to begin with. There have also been studies proving that a 1/2 hour of moderate exercise could reduce your risk of recurrence substantially as well.
I know of people on all ends - those who were recommended chemo, declined it, and thrived and the cancer never came back; those who did chemo, survived it, and the cancer never came back; those who did chemo and the cancer still came back, etc. At the end of the day we just need to make the best decision for ourselves, feel good about it and move forward, and NOT feel pressured to do something that doesn't feel right.
I made a risk/benefit decision every step of the way for me based on my own unique situation and a whole lot of data and research that I could find. I did the lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy, declined the axillary node dissection (due to the 40% risk of chronic lymphedema and studies showing women in my situation did better with just the SN dissection), did a very full and aggressive radiation (and had minimal side effects, this one had a 10-15% risk of chronic lymphedema but I felt the benefit now outweighed the risk), did not need chemo due to my oncotype score (but might have declined it anyways based on my personal experiences around friends and family who did chemo), and have started tamoxifen (again there are SEs but I've determined the benefits outweigh the risks here too).
I don't know if I'll be one of the lucky ones with no recurrence or whether this might come back and I'd have to re-evaluate and fight/decide again... We can't predict the future so we have to make the smartest decisions for ourselves today and have faith in it. I just know I feel good about the choices I have made, and I'm better able to face things and fight this with that faith that I've evaluated and made the best decisions for myself. That's all we can do, and take it day by day.
9/7/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
9/19/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)