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Should I have chemo?

Should I have chemo?

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2 posts since

4 Dec 2019

I’m a 31 year old female, who recently has had cancer of the appendix which is apparently quite rare. I’ve been told this is classed as a kind bowel cancer. 

I had a right hemicolectomy 4 weeks ago where they removed about 30% of my colon, my appendix and the tumour. 16 lymph nodes were removed and luckily all were clear but there were cancer cells found in the lymph channel. The oncologist has said they’re 99% sure they’ve removed all the cancer but I’ve been offered chemotherapy as a ‘preventative’ measure in case there are any rogue cancer cells that can’t be found via tests, but the decision is totally mine.

Because of my age, there is a chance I would have to harvest some of my eggs because the treatment could effect my fertility and there’s even a chance it could kick start early menopause. I don’t have children yet but I always wanted to.

Do I have the chemo for something that might not even be there and risk my fertility or do I not have it and carry on as normal? Because of the rarity of the cancer and my age, they’ve said I’ll be monitored annually over the next five or so years, but if there are cancerous cells left, could they turn into something more sinister in a year?

All this has happened in the last four weeks and it’s all just been such a shock. I just don’t know what to do. 
 

Any thoughts/advice welcome. 
Thanks, Laura

324 posts since

16 Jan 2016

Hi Laura,

I am sorry you are having to make this decision. I had chemo at age 48 so there was no decision for me to make with regards to childbearing. Maybe you could get a second and even a third opinon? I hope all goes well for you.

Laura xx

140 posts since

22 Aug 2019

Laura

I would suggest that you ask your support team for the (as specific as they can be) benefits and risks as its unclear whether they have given you enough information to enable you easily to weigh up the pros and cons and think this decision needs to be an informed one.

I think you also need to be clear on your priorities which will, obviously, be specific to you.  Sometimes people are willing to take longevity risks for other benefits (egg harvest, quality of life etc.).  On this point ask your team what would happen if those risks ( cancer coming back) come to fruition, it may be an acceptable risk for you.

Bear in mind no-one can ever guarantee that you’ll be cancer free no matter what as the size of very small cancer cells are just too small to detect via scans, that’s why we’re bombarded by so many drugs & radiography but its quite a sledgehammer to crack what may be a small or non-existent walnut.  Don’t want to worry you but that’s the reality.

Hope that helps & good luck.

Sam X

Should I have chemo?

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