STORIES Breast Cancer Awareness Good luck cancer! This post was written on 22nd September (sorry for the delay in posting!) Tomorrow I have my last chemo so today is my pre chemo assessment with my oncologist. I have only had one appointment with the new oncologist before, all the others have been with nurses. The clinic was running late so I was sat waiting for an hour and a half for the appointment. And to add to the pain my phone battery was almost dead and I’d brought no entertainment with me! So I picked receipts out of my bag…sorted my purse….put make up neatly in my make up bag. My desperate attempts for something to do did prompt the lady next to me to say “you are really clutching at straws aren’t you!”. This in turn lead to some friendly conversation and relieved the boredom! When I was in with the oncologist we discussed my ongoing care. I was nervous about finishing chemo and being left to my own devices. While I don’t want any more chemo there is something reassuring about regular trips to the hospital. Knowing you are under the care of specialists. Suddenly being released into the big bad world on your own is surprisingly daunting. I needn’t have worried! He began discussing the tamoxifen that I knew I would be having. One tablet every day for 10 years. As my cancer was estrogen fuelled it blocks the cells from allowing estrogen in. He described it as the cancer being a plug socket and the estrogen is the plug. The tamoxifen acts as one of those plastic protectors you put in plug sockets to stop children putting their fingers in. It will stop the estrogen getting to the cancer and allowing it to grow. The next step he discussed was a drug that will trick my body into thinking it has no ovaries. This will limit the hormones in my body and again stop any rogue cancer cells from growing. The downside is both of these drugs will give me the symptoms of early menopause. He then offered zolodronic acid that increases bone mass. This will be given every 6 months for 3 years.It changes the density of the bones and makes it hard for cancer cells to grow there. He explained this isn’t routinely given yet as the drug is used for osteoporosis but is not widely used for cancer although the benefits are known. Funnily enough an article then came out to say 27000 women are being denied this treatment because the drug is not licensed for that use so doctors are reluctant to give it, despite the fact it could save 1100 lives a year. So I feel extremely lucky to be under the care of a doctor willing to offer me everything he feels may benefit me. The last thing we discussed was a clinical trial that I am eligible to take part in. He gave me lots of information about the trial to read including all the risks and potential side effects. While they can seem daunting, there is something exciting about the prospect of being involved in a project that could improve cancer care for others in the future. And also if the theory works it would hopefully stop my cancer from returning. Having weighed everything up I decided to go on the trial and will begin the process within the next 6 weeks. All in all I feel in pretty good hands! I left feeling positive that not only was tomorrow my last chemo session but that if the cancer tries to come back it’s going to have a pretty tough job!