Stage 1 TNBC, chemotherapy stopped due to heart (failure) problems

Hi All,

I am new here and this post is regarding my mother (73 years old) who was diagnosed as following:

Stage 1b, IDC, TNBC. 1.9cm tumor and No nodes involved.

Lumpectomy Surgery performed on 21/10/2017 with clear margin

Chemotherapy: (4 x EC (every 21 days) and 4x Taxol (Every week for 12 weeks)). it started on 20/11/2017.

First 2 rounds of EC went well, after 3rd round of EC, she felt some more uneasiness, and one night felt very high pulse rate and blood pressure. We took her to hospital and she was admitted into ICU with oxygen support for 3 days. There was water in the lungs. It was heart failure and now she is revived and recovering well. We spoke to Oncologist, and she says that concentrate on heart and listen to Cardiologist at the moment. After two months we can go back to Oncologist and then they will look at it again.

Now the whole family is shattered and we are fully focused on recovering from heart problems. We are not sure if Chemotherapy will be done or not. As it's TNBC case, chemotherapy is the main treatment and we want to go for best treatment possible.

Can the doctors on the forum please provide your opinion and suggest what could be the options for us once she recovers from heart issues. Please note there was no heart, kidney or liver problems before chemotherapy. The blood pressure and ECG have been normal during the chemo.

If the chemo starts again, will it be fresh new cycles as before 4EC+4Taxol ? The 3EC cycles completed, do they have any impact ?

Please suggest.

Kind regards,

Yogender

4 Replies
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Your doctors have taken a correct decision. The immediate threat to her life is from heart issues; cancer is never an immediate threat to life. So if someone develops heart problems, it’s prudent to address it first. Epirubicin is known to be toxic to heart and that could possibly be a cause. So naturally, it will not be used again if chemo is planned.

In any case, don’t worry much. This is a early stage cancer; she will be all fine, whatever chemo she takes or doesn’t take. Let her recover from heart issues, then your Oncologist will decide what to do next. Let your mother rest adequately, let her recover from this heart situation. Continue giving her lots of love. She will be fine soon, don’t worry.

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Thanks Dr Sumeet, for your reply and kind words. We will wait for her recovery from her heart problems and go to the Oncologist later to see what can be her treatment then.

We were worried due to TNBC, high grade (3) tumor. I hope the doctor will come out with alternative chemo. We are also waiting for all the reports from cardiologist if there is any permanent damage to the heart/kidney or not.

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I completely agree with Dr Sumeet. Nothing much to early has she has an Early Breast Cancer.

Its a difficult call for any oncologist to recommend for /against further chemotherapy at this stage. Best thing would be for her to recover from this episode, have opinions from the cardiologists / nephrologists and then your Oncologist would make the final call taking into account the pressures from yourself, your moms wishes, and the tumour related parameters... whether further chemo is worth the future risks.

Wish you all the best

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Thanks a lot Dr for your comment. I will keep this thread updated as she recovers from current problem and the decisions on further treatments take place.

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