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Chemo: Yes or No?

Treatment & Care: Surgery

Day 57: Chemo or no chemo? That is the question.

Chemotherapy for breast cancer at Lawrence Memorial HospitalWell, this is no easy decision.

I met with my oncologist yesterday to discuss the results of my Oncotype DX test, which is used to determine whether or not I’ll benefit from chemotherapy. I should have guessed that I would fall in the intermediate risk category, otherwise known as the "gray area." Simply put, there is no clear answer as to yes I should do chemo, or no I shouldn't. My oncologist is answering all our questions and helping me fully understand the choice at hand, but ultimately, I will have to make this decision myself.

My test score is a 23, which means I have a 15% chance of cancer recurrence. Chemotherapy can help prevent that, but of course, it comes with those hard-to-bear and very disruptive chemo side effects like nausea, extreme fatigue and my favorite...hair loss. That’s a hard thing to sign up for when, in fact, I may not even benefit because it’s being used to ward off something I’m at low risk for anyway.

On the other hand, if I don't do chemo and end up with cancer again on down the road, I'll be so mad at myself for not just sucking it up and doing the chemo now. For some of you reading this, it may seem like a cut-and-dry choice, but it’s not.

Thankfully, I’m getting emotional strength from all directions – my family, friends, doctors, nurses, neighbors, colleagues…the list goes on and on. No one can make this decision for me, but knowing I have such a strong support system is helping me get through this incredibly surreal and challenging time. Thank you.


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