Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3.Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at

    Other options other than Chemo?
    rmmichon posted:
    I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer, and had a lumpectomy 4 weeks ago. They took two sentinal nodes (one above and one below the tumor), and those came back completely clean.. My tumor was 1.6 cm, and all of the "edges" were clean - no cancer.. So far, all my blood work has come back with NO CHEMO required. I had the oncotype dx done, and am having the BRC1 and BRC2 tests done, due to my age (just turned 40) and no breast cancer in our family history. My pcp was as shocked as I was to find out I had cancer - especially since this did not show on the mammogram, but was a tiny node under the breast (I'm small breasted, so never really worried about this). I'm also kind of small 5'4, and 112 lbs. Healthy other than the occasional sinus infection or upper respiratory thing in the winter months.
    Here's my question... WHY is my surgeon, and the oncologist PUSHING CHEMO and they want me to start within the next week or two (next week will be 5 weeks from surgery). According to the oncotype dx test, I'm in the percentage of women that have a 25% chance of it coming back somewhere else. BUT my doc says technically right now, I'm cancer free. There's no guarantee it will or won't come back, and chemo only drops my chances by 8%...
    I'm going to see another oncologist tomorrow, but I am not a fan of Chemo, and don't understand why they are pushing it. Does anyone know of any natural alternatives to Chemo that work?
    Slightly frustrated with my docs, as they don't seem to be telling me everything.
    rachael67 responded:
    Glad you are getting a second opinion.

    REgarding alternatives to chemo, we do have a member-created sister site called Breast Cancer Treatments - the non-toxic way Try posting on that site and see if you get any ideas.

    Meanwhile know you are in our thoughts, and do let us know how you are doing.

    Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly! Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!
    Buffygirl10 responded:
    Very glad you are getting a second opinion. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer 2 years ago last week. I had a double mastectomy because I had already had DCIS 2 years earlier. I truly thought I was done with treatment after being so aggressive with the surgery and since I had no lymph node involvement. Then I saw my oncologist who right away wanted to do chemo even before my oncotype test came back. Even though I was at one of the best cancer centers in America, I went for a second opinion and was told that since my oncotype test came back low there was only a 2% chance the chemo would benefit me. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make, but I decided against the chemo. Now I am trying very hard to get that 2% back by exercising and eating better than I ever have before. I am taking Tamoxofen and I took a lot of the stress out of my life. So far so good. Good luck to you!
    An_188690 responded:
    Get the second opinion, the feelings of not knowing if you are getting the whole picture will subside. Find out what is your method of learning: support groups, books, discussion boards, etc.

    A good book that has been useful personally is the Dr. Susan Love's Breast book. My diagnosis is similar to yours with the added fact that I am ER positive and am 43 years old. I've had the lumpectomy in September, am currently going through chemo and will have radiation therapy starting next month. Adding to my treatment Tamoxofen after chemo is completed this month.

    I'm not the support group kinda gal and prefer facts and data. I have friends and family telling me about clinical trials that are available, in my case, I'm almost done with chemo and from my point of view halfway through my treatment. So, I take these well intended suggestions and inform what my treatment is going to be without being rude.

    Just remember that everyone on these discussion boards have a different chemistry, stage, and you will need to trust your oncologist and or oncology team throughout the journey.

    Stay positive and stress free. If your breast cancer is estrogen positive, start making lifestyle changes that affect: food (hormone free chicken or eggs), paraben free products (soap, body creams, shampoo, make-up), use healthier options for detergents and other household products. Make changes that you think can prevent any recurrence.

    rmmichon replied to An_188690's response:
    Thank you everyone... I've gotten the second opinion.. This doctor gave me why, and explained a lot more, as well as a different chemo option, and even gave me more to think about that I didn't know. So now, after discussing with my husband and kids, I am going to "try" the chemo... I'm still not 100% about this, and it kind of scares me (ok - it really scares me). I'm a "WHY" person and a "faith based" and "miracle-believing" person, thinking the body can/will heal itself if given the right things that God gave us naturally to use. I also believe God gave man brains to help each other, but the whole cancer thing sometimes to me seems to be a big business...Hopefully we (the patients) are more than numbers.

    Anyhow...thank you all for the information.. I will still be doing a lot of research
    cancer47 replied to rmmichon's response:
    I understand all that you have gone thru because I have been down the chemo road. You don't really just don't "try" chemo. After only 1 treatment you will loose your hair. And after each treatment you dread going to the next but you have to because this is what you do. I tried to get out of doing all the treatments and was only asked why?? It's too hard is not an answer. Go to the chemo lab before your first treatment and look at those people and say do I want to do this to my body? Then pray and make your own decision.Take time and take care.
    bcsurvivor2010 replied to rmmichon's response:
    I'm sorry to say that chemo is scary, you are in your right mind to be scared of this treatment. But then again, there are different stages and treatments. Both you and I are in stage 1, therefore the treatment and side effects will be different from those in a more advanced stage. So before you go and see people that are going to chemo, consider their age, how advance their stage is before you get depressed about the treatment.

    At my 3rd chemo treatment I feel fatigued, but other than that I'm going through chemo without many side effects. I only had nausea twice. I'm receiving a booster with Neulasta (reduces the chance of infection) and though my bones and joints do hurt days after the injection, It's manageable. My family is very helpful with chores and food preparation. When I feel that I just need to stay in bed longer, I do so. This will only last for a week after chemo. Afterwards, I am stronger and take short walks to regain my strength. I start putting on my make-up and dressing up.

    I remember going to a support group and mentioning that I will only have 4 cycles of chemo with 3 weeks in between.
    Everyone was asking why is mine so different when the rest were having months of chemo and every 2 weeks. My oncologist has been my support throughout the process and I am able to ask her all the questions that come up in between treatments and I feel confident that everything will be fine.

    Keep up with your prayers and believe that God is healing your body in addition to any other treatment you decide for. Prayer is an important aspect to healing and can be compared to meditation guiding our body to heal.

    Also, I read an article that stress can increase the chances of breast cancer to grow. Keep your stress levels low. The way I see it, I already have the disease so I'll have a crappy year and next year will be different with a completely different, more spiritual outlook to life.

    I'll have you in my prayers.
    rmmichon replied to bcsurvivor2010's response:
    Thanks for the advice. I had my MUGA done today, and I couldn't sign the paperwork to do the chemo.. in my heart, I feel it's not something good for me. Kind of like smoking or drugs????? I know - not the same, but it's still a poison. My biggest problem is not the short term effects with the chemo and the Tamoxifen, but the long term effects. I could bite the bullet if I knew that 1) there was absolutely no chance of recurrence, and that 2) I wouldn't have to live with long term effects. I talked to a nuclear medicine tech today, that was trying to convince me to go the chemo route, until I started asking him questions, and he found out, I'm actually doing my research and then he said, well, it will slow you down, even when you are done, and that he was surprised that I'm digging so deeply into this. I'm also looking at natural alternatives, as the more people I've talked to in the medical world (non-oncology) seem to feel that this might not be the right road for me....
    survivingtheracebc responded:
    Oh my this is freakie very same for me, everything you have gone thru. Just errie. All of our test are the same. I am older and was DX 12/26/2008 had a (R) masectomy 02/02/209. I too did not want chemo, so my oncoligist said"The ony thing is if the cancer returns later, chances of fighting it become more narrow because by the time they find it has returned, it usually has gone to the bones. Well I took my chances, did not take Chemo or Rad. I just pray I made the right choice. I hope and pray for you and whatever your decision. It is a real jouney and all we can do is make our choices and move foward. GOD BLESS !!! KAY
    judyfams replied to survivingtheracebc's response:
    There is no right answer to the question of chemo vs. no chemo. I too faced the same decision when I was diagnosed with stage 1 IDC on 2/22/2010.

    What guided me in making my final decision was which outcome I could live with if I did the chemo or did not do the chemo. Do not go by what OTHER people tell you you SHOULD do, because each diagnosis is different and each oncologist may have different ways of treating similar diagnosis.

    The most important thing for you to consider in making your decision is to make the decision that will not leave you with regrets or second guessing yourself years from now. The right decision for you is the one that makes you feel ultimately comfortable that it IS the right decision for you.

    I did 6 rounds of chemo and if you go that route the best advice I can give you is to eat many small meals that consist of lean protein, lots of fruits and vegetables and of course drink plenty of water. I watched my diet very carefully during the whole time and the only side effect I had was the fatigue.

    I wish you good luck in going through the process of making your decision and once it is made you should feel comfortable with it and proud of yourself for taking an active role in your treatment.

    Please keep us informed of how you are doing.

    bcsurvivor2010 replied to rmmichon's response:
    I found a site that in Mexico they offer non-chemo alternatives that focus on meals, holistic approach, and requires inpatient treatment. That is just something I can't do. I'm looking for a job and have to care for my 19 year old son.

    Good luck with your decision. I'm doing the chemo and will start radiation therapy in Jan.
    rmmichon replied to bcsurvivor2010's response:
    So..I'm not doing the chemo...I have been so relieved, feel better, and can live with my decision. I feel like a great weght was lifted from me. My family (husband, son (15) and daughter (12)) understand and they will support me - no looking back. Anyhow, I am still going to be going through the rad treatment - have simulations next week (I don't feel as uncomfortable with this), and the hormonal treatment, Tamoxifen (although, still looking at alternatives). The genetic doc I talked to after my BRCA1/2 tests came back (no mutations!), said in my case, she feels that the Tamoxifen will be the best help in preventing recurrence, but prepare to go through 5 years of extreme ups/downs. She has a friend who was similarily diagnosed at 35, and said the hormonal changes were he** for her.
    cheriamelia7 replied to rmmichon's response:
    I really understand what you are saying. Chemo seems to be
    a really scary, but sometimes it is felt necessary for good reasons.
    Then there is the decisions of Tamoxifen and Femara and others, and, wondering if in the long run, the "quality" of life,
    (well...just have been reading the femara site) so compromised, that I can't help wondering about it. "C"
    slk41 replied to rmmichon's response:
    I am right there with you! I am 41 and I was diagnosed in Nov. (7 weeks ago). I had surgery in Dec.(all clean margins-Yay!) and now am facing the treatment options. I was stage II ductal carcinoma, no genetic mutation, HERS 2 negative, E/P 98% positive. No kidding - my oncologist should have worn a t-shirt that said, "Say YES to Chemo!" Really, my husband and I felt as if she was selling it as a product instead of giving me advice that would affect the rest of my life! I am a VERY faith-based person, and I can trace God's footprints throughout this whole ordeal. I got a strong message that what she was telling me was not accurate for me personally. I am confident that for me, my t-shirt says, "I say no to Chemo". So, I see a new doctor tomorrow. Maybe I will have a different perspective...I will wait to see what God has to say about it...
    judyfams replied to slk41's response:
    Did you also have a sentinel node biopsy done with your lumpectomy and if so were the sentinel and axillary nodes all free of pre cancer cells and/or cancer cells?

    Also did you have the Oncotype DX test done to see if indeed your tumor's DNA would reespond to chemo?

    Before you rule chemo in or out you should completely research all reasons why chemo may or may not be right for you based on the DNA of your particular type of breast cancer.


    Helpful Tips

    Radiation Burns
    I had terrible burns over 2/3rds of my breast after 7 weeks of radiation & I was miserable. Here is what I did. The doctor told me to ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    17 of 21 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    For more information, visit the Duke Health Breast Cancer Center