Posted: Nov 04, 2013 4:55 pm
by Aern Rakesh
This is a really hard one. Because for everyone who has a story about a friend/relative who had chemo and died anyway, there are those of us who know someone who probably wouldn't still be here if it weren't for the chemo.

Certainly I have a friend who is a 10 year survivor from chemo+op for ovarian cancer that had spread all over her abdomen. The chemo is undoubtedly responsible for damage to her hips that resulted in two hip replacements at age 50. However she is undeniably alive. When she was first diagnosed, she was given a 25% chance of surviving two years. Once she survived five, she was basically discharged from active care, only has to have a blood test for the cancer marker every year.

My b-i-l had to have chemo for a rectal cancer. The initial chemo shrank the tumour to the point where it was operable, and following removal of the mass he was given further, more extreme chemo, to mop up any residual cancer. Of course time will tell with him, but without the initial chemo they wouldn't have been able to operate at all.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was incredibly lucky that they caught it before it had spread to the nodes. So all I had after my operation was a month's radiotherapy, followed by five years of tamoxifen. Every day I went in for radiotherapy I counted myself lucky that I was there through my own steam (I took the tube to the hospital), and wasn't one of those wheeled down from the cancer ward who was getting chemo as well.