Several people have asked my why I’m having chemo if “they got it all,” so I thought I would try to explain. Physicians don’t use the term “we got it all,” instead they talk about lymph nodes and clear margins (see the pathology report posting). But most of us simplify the results by saying they got it all. Unfortunately, cancer is a sneaky little devil and can be unpredictable. Physicians and researchers continue to study it and predict its behavior and treat patients accordingly.
My physicians have taken my pathology report, family history, age and other factors into consideration and have determined that their goal is to give me the best possible odds to reach my 80th birthday and beyond, and that means chemo and radiation therapy for a year. Since I am considered young (yes, I have a doctor’s note to prove it) and my cancer is aggressive, chemo ensures my best chance of survival.
The second question that I’m getting a lot is, “Why are you getting chemo for a year?” I tested Her2/neu positive in each of the tumor areas. What this means is that my cancer is faster growing and more aggressive than other breast cancers. My research says that only 25% of all breast cancers test positive for Her2/neu. So the doctors want to make sure that any traces are eliminated by using a very targeted therapy that lasts a year.
There are many, many protocols for chemo, and mine is just one of them, and it happens to be a extensive and long treatment. But I’m going to take it one step at a time and set goals for each step.