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Breast cancer and kidney disease


At ago 70 diagnosed with breast cancer, stage 1. Had mastectomy as surgeon said this could avoid further treatment. Now, however, my oncologist wants me on chemo for four months. I brought up that I also have kidney disease, stage three and everything I was reading contraindicated these drugs due to further kidney damage. He frightened me by saying if cancer returns it will be stage four,bone or liver. I read a lot more on my own and decided for a 3% lessened risk in cancer, my kidneys would probably be destroyed. In short, I refused chemo, feel that a mastectomy for stage one with clear margins and nodes ought to be enough. Any insights here? I am a wreck.Anyone with insight please respond. Thanks, neenors

20 Replies

I'm sorry the doctor is trying to frighten you that way. Did they do Oncotype DX testing? This is typically done with stage 1 to determine the benefit of chemo. Also, if I would have your kidney doctor speak with the oncologist about what is best based on your medical history.

Hi. So sorry to hear the Dr is frightening you in this way.

I'm 67 and recovering from a lumpectomy for stage 1 BC with no lymph node involvement. I agreed to 15 radiotherapy sessions after the op as the cancer was growing near my ribs, but I was told that no chemo was necessary. I'm taking Letrozole for 5y or more.

Had the cancer progressed to you lymph nodes? Otherwise, I'm confused about the recommendation for chemo.

neenors in reply to MEGS53

No lymph node involvement

MEGS53 in reply to neenors

Then I really don't understand why you need chemo. You deserve a full explanation asap - please push for one. BTW, I'm not medically qualified, just a fellow sufferer who's done a bit of reading. Let me know if I can do anything to help.

MEGS53 in reply to MEGS53 cancer was small - about 11mm

Hi! You need to make the best decision for u and your specific situation! Stick to your guns. Because they can talk u into something that would damage your kidneys more.

Sending prayer! 🙏🏻💕

Nicu697 in reply to Rhwright12

I also feel you need a better explanation. You're added to my prayer list

May i ask whether your tumour was ER+ve (and HER-ve)? I think this may impact on your treatment options. Please take further advice before you accept chemo. xxx

neenors in reply to MEGS53

Negative on both.

MEGS53 in reply to neenors

Is that ER-ve and HER-ve?

neenors in reply to MEGS53


MEGS53 in reply to neenors

Ok, so is it progesterone +ve? Surely it's +ve to one of the oestrogens?

MEGS53 in reply to neenors

Ah, this is now sounding like a 'triple negative tumour' which will require more aggressive treatment to prevent it's return. I'm very surprised and concerned that your onc. didn't explain more fully. You really need a much better explanation so that you can make the best decision for your individual treatment.

To call this a 'stage one' tumour is very misleading and no wonder you're confused. Remember, I'm not medically qualified, but if I were in your shoes I would ask for a full explanation and treatment options ASAP. Take care and please let me know if I can be of further help.

Cu4281 in reply to MEGS53

Yes I also agree with this reply. Maybe you need a second opinion from a different oncologist - ultimately it is your choice and quality of life sound also be considered. You decide what is best for you after getting the best information possible.

I would recommend getting a second , too. opinion before deciding to have chemo. Chemo was so rough on my liver (had liver cancer before) that they modified the chemo to lessen the impact. I am very much wondering why your onc is pushing for chemo with Stage 1. Not to minimize your cancer, but Stage 1 is usually not followed by chemo, so I would ask exactly why the push. Also, any doctor - ANY - who uses fear to push me into a choice makes my radar go off.

Time to find a new oncologist who will treat you as an entire person!!!!

It is your body, and you and your other doctors will make the decision. For stage one you may have been able to have radiation. Don't know how long ago you had your mastectomy. You are doing the correct thing in fighting for yourself! Now relax and believe ! Bet wishes.

Sorry for you dilemma neenors. The replies that I read were great!

I hope my note finds you in a better place.

You are on my prayer list.

There is an onco test that we do in the US that can define your need a 1,2,3 result for chemotherapy after surgery. 1 means the risks associated with chemo is not worth the benefit, 2 is in the middle so the risk equals the benefit and 3 means the risk is strongly worth the benefit. But that’s it. They cannot cure breast cancer. They do what think is best and designated as “standard of care” recommended to give you the best chance of not having a recurrence but the truth is they are just statistics that drs are working with to make decisions. I had stage 2A lobular in the left breast only breast cancer 4 cm tumor, no cancer in sentinel nodes. I chose double mastectomy, followed by chemo as I had a 2 close to 3 onco result. 4 years later I discovered that I have MBC in an anterior mediastinal mass in the nodes and probably other nodes in the left breast. They used to take out many more nodes when staging HC on its first occurrence but they stopped because it caused serious problems afterwards in the arm. So they changed the standard of care to just test a few of the sentinal notes. I may have been MBC from the beginning. OR the chemo did not work to destroy distant cancer cells as its purpose is to kill off any cancer cells that metasticized from the original tumor. So that statistical risk occurred Your description of your kidney situation sounds like the risk of chemo is definitely not worth the benefit of an decreased statistic of recurrence. If we get cancer again I don’t care how good the stats were, we still have cancer. I had a double mastectomy to reduce the chance that I would have a local recurrence in the other breast. You then start all over with chemo, surgery, etc. and I felt it was worth it to lower my risk but I was always aware that it did not mean that it couldn’t recur even in the breast as it can recur in the breast chest wall or the breast skin. Many people think if you have mastectomy then you don’t have to worry about it recurring in the breast but that is just not true either. Another example is the 5 year mark. Many people think that if you make it five years without recurrence then you are cured but that is not true. It’s not a curable disease but the great news is that statistics have increased dramatically for our Long term survival. Drs are making decisions for treatment based on statistics but we need to understand that the numbers are not facts just a statistical chance to be honest. Ask your DR about the onco test as it may be another factor in helping you feel just fine about not going through the chemo if you are a1 or 2. Wishing you all the best and God bless you as you continue on your journey.

Hi Neenors. Please let us know how you are. xxx

I'm having the same problem....

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