She actually said what it would be and then afterwards radiotherapy. With it being Stage II and being, with the HERS oncogene gene strongly positive, that’s the one that they actually can use Herceptin for. At that stage Herceptin wasn’t available in UK, except as part of a trial. When I asked my oncologist if I could take part in a trial here, he just dismissed it.
Anyway and that’s, that’s what, you know, that would be the recommended treatment. So of course, I was a bit confused. So the way I, afterwards, I saw the oncologist I showed him everything that I’d got, and he said, “Oh.” He said, “They have a more aggressive approach in America.” So I said, “Well it’s not the United States, it’s Canada. And they might have a more aggressive approach.” I said, “But they have much better survival rates.” I said, “Britain is right near the bottom in Europe.” At that stage I think only Greece was worse then us. I mean in terms of survival rates for breast cancer.
So, he sort of rubbished me, and he said, “Oh you know, there’s risks.” He said, “If you have chemo, it can increase your risks of leukaemia.” And it could be this, and it could be that. Anyway, so basically what happened was that in the meantime, he said, “We’ll start with the radiotherapy.” And then my mum was also coming to be with me.
So in the meantime I had an email correspondence, and obviously, and I was speaking to my sister and brother-in-law, because they also said to me, “Don’t go on the web, because there’s just so much information, it can be totally confusing. We will find out for you because we know the right things to find out, the right people to ask and we’ll get back information.
Anyway, so, I would send them his replies, then they would send me further information, and then I’d speak to him, and this was going on. In the mean time I also contacted my one cousin in Israel, who, from my perspective, is the doctor that I would trust more than anyone else in the world. Absolutely amazing person. Older. He had been a GP and then he had become a neuroanaesthetist.
But he was up to date and he would find out things. And he found out. And he said, “In Israel, this is what would happen.” And I would be having chemo. A friend good friend is at [town name], also in the medical profession. Not an oncologist, but works at the hospital, so then you can be in touch and everything. Her actually speciality is infant baby breathing. And she found out that if I was in [town name], they would be recommending chemo. So it seemed to me, you know, that was definitely considered the best way forward.
In the mean time my mum arrived and when she came with me to radiotherapy and met my oncologist, that was the first time he actually said, you know, “Think about it, and you’ll speak to me at the end, and if you want chemo you will be able to have it.” Anyway, comes to the time, I have finished the radiotherapy and I have a little period of recuperation and I have to meet him and he’s going to see how I am. And it’s my decision.
And I said to him, you know, after everything I had done the research. I mean there was, there was a slight increase in terms of statistical stuff, in terms of the risk of leukaemia, but it was .014. So, so that’s like, you know, fourteen thousandths of an increase. And if the actual risk of leukaemia was only like about 2%, you know, it was a very, very small increase. I mean you sort of need to understand a bit of statistics, but you know, weighing up all the things up, I thought I wanted to give myse