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I am recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a double mastectomy and the doctor says I am ER+ and PR+ and HER-. He says I should take Tamoxifen for 5 years. As for chemo, apparently I am in a grey area. The tumour was large enough to warrant chemo but it is low grade (slow growing?) and has been completely removed. No cancer was found anywhere else, including my lymph nodes.
According to recent results from a fairly new test being used, my chances of distant recurrence (somewhere else in my body)in the next 10 years is 14%. If someone in my position has chemotherapy (Dr.'s recommendation is Cyclophosphamide and Docetaxel) in addition to the Tamoxifen, it will lower my risk by about 5% to about 9%. I realize that these are just statistics and I am more than a statistic, but they are a good starting point for trying to understand
1) what are the long-term effects of these two chemicals in particular? I know the short term effects, but I want to know, from someone who's "been there" how they feel years later
2)with a 5% reduction in risk, is it really worth it to take chemo? I am 49 years old.
3) How long after chemo will I find that life is back to normal? Can I travel (crowded airplanes, sun exposure, fatigue etc.)?
I'm sure I have more questions but I can't think of them all right now.