In the midst of all this and my ongoing online research – I’m a firm believer in more information being better (if a bit confusing and overwhelming at times) – I found this:
“Data from other studies such as The National Surgical Adjuvant Breast Project, which randomized women to radiation or radiation plus chemotherapy, found markedly lower rates of local recurrence in those women receiving chemotherapy plus radiation for invasive breast cancer. Those lymph node negative women undergoing lumpectomy followed by radiation had a 13.4% local recurrence rate compared to 2.6% when treated with chemotherapy and radiation.”
Granted, this is an older and limited study (2,140 women; followed for a median of 10.6 years after treatment; treated between 1968 and 1987) but it still looks good to me.
I’ve been looking at various studies to try to determine – as much as possible – my risk of recurrence without Tamoxifen treatment, given that my cancer had clear margins, no lymph node involvement, and that I’m going through chemotherapy and radiation. I know that Tamoxifen will cut my recurrence risk in half (as well as reducing the risk of a new primary in my other breast) but, given the possible side effects and my tendency to hypersensitivity to drugs, I’d strongly prefer NOT to spend five years mucking myself about with chemicals.
A 1.3% reduction in the recurrence risk doesn’t seem worth five years of hormonal therapy to me – I think it’s a bet I’m willing to take.