Chemotherapy not working.

Chemotherapy not working.

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3 posts since

28 Jun 2019


My mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 Inflammatory + Triple negative breast cancer on June 24th 2019. Her tumour was 10cm. Lymph node involvement of 4-7. She also has precancerous calcifications in her right breast.

The treatment plan was chemo;surgery + radiotherapy.

She started chemotherapy on 5th of August. She has had 12 week cycles of Paclitaxel & Carboplatin + has at present received 2 Epirubicin + Cyclophosphamide. Her first EC was the 28th of October. On the 4th of November she was admitted with neutopenic sepsis for 5 days. She had an MRI done Saturday just gone & the results have came back that the tumor has only ‘Partially Responsed’ to the chemotherapy with persistent dermal thickening. My mother’s oncologist has said the chemo has not worked as we have wanted it to. We are seeing the breast surgeon on the 12th of dec. But the tumour hasn’t shrunk safely enough to operate…. it’s still 10cm & the oncologist said with IBC the tumours dont shrink? Is this true? I just want some advice please as surely this is not good news? 

partial response to chemo with persistent dermal thickening is not good surely? She has a previous ultrasound which has showed the lymph nodes are now normal in size which is great but it’s the tumour I’m worried about. Its just myself and my mother at home and I am writing this at 1.38am I’m just worried sick. Is this just a long dragged out death sentence? Surely if the chemo hasn’t worked that doesn’t bode well especially being triple negative & having inflammatory aswell? The cancer should be reduced enough to safely operate.. but it’s obviously not. The breast surgeons will discuss this in more detail. I just wondered if maybe there was a nurse or someone on here also who would be able to help if I wrote her MRI results in a comment. Any advice from anyone would be amazing. I just feel like now it’s like game over as they are so aggressive. Please help. Thankyou ♡

13 posts since

14 Nov 2019

Have the consultants mentioned immunotherapy?   My mum had a good response to that but everyone is different in how they react to treatment.


Its worth reading all the information here on cancer-research site aswell as wikipedia about the specific type of cancer she has.

4 posts since

29 Sep 2019

Hi I read your post and I too have triple negative breast cancer . I was suppose to have 3 cycles of epirubicin and cyclophosphamide but after two cycles a scan showed the tumor had grown very slightly by 2 mm.They didn’t bother with the 3rd cycle. I’m now on docetaxel. I’ve had one cycle and another on Wednesday. If the next scan shows a good response I will have a third cycle . If it’s not a good response they will remove the lump. I really sympathise with your sleepless night. It’s such a worry and a worry that never leaves you. I hope the breast surgeon can give you more information . I’m hoping for anotherr consultation around the same time and will try to update you and we can compare notes! Sending all my love and strength to both you and you mum .

em xxxxxxx

1265 posts since

9 Jun 2011

Hello Mummysgirl93 and thanks for posting, 

I am sorry to learn about your mum and can understand you looking for more information about her situation, but I am afraid I can’t tell you much. Her specialist is much the best person to answer your questions, although even they don’t always have all the answers. Unfortunately uncertainty is a hallmark of going through cancer treatment because the doctors can so seldom guarantee the outcome. 

In an ideal world I think the doctors like to see a complete response to chemotherapy when it is given before breast cancer surgery, but unfortunately this doesn’t always happen and a partial response is still a response and better than no response. But I understand it is disappointing. 

I’m afraid we aren’t specialists so can’t give an opinion on anyone’s scans. I think only the surgeon is going to be able to properly explain the operation they are planning, what they hope to achieve and any risks or drawbacks.  Anyone else is probably only going to muddy the waters, so all I can suggest is waiting to her what the surgeon has to say. The breast care nurse involved may be able to tell you more if your mum has given permission for you to talk to them, but they may also suggest waiting for the surgeon’s opinion. 

I am sorry not to be able to tell you more for now. If you want to talk to us about anything please do call. Our number is Freephone 0808 800 4040 and we are here from 9-5, Mon-Fri.

Best wishes, 


Chemotherapy not working.

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