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How long after surgery before starting radiation?

AngieD's picture
AngieD
Posts: 504
Joined: Sep 2011

I'm wondering how long you waited after surgery before starting radiation? I have 3 more weekly Taxols to go, and, if those don't get delayed, then have surgery (lumpectomy) scheduled for the last Thursday in June. Have any of you started radiation as early as 3 weeks and 3 days after surgery? I'm trying to figure out if I can get done with radiation (6 weeks) before a trip we had planned for September. My MO says that with me being Triple Negative, I can't wait til after the trip for the radiation and the radiation can't be broken up. So, do you think it is likely to work out starting the radiation as I said above and finishing just 1 week before leaving on a trip? Will I be recovered from the radiation? I know everyone is different, but if you could share your experience with me, it would be helpful. As always, thanks for being here!
Angie

EveningStar2's picture
EveningStar2
Posts: 494
Joined: Jan 2009

I did not have chemo but I started radiation either 3 or 4 weeks after surgery. I know I started before they originally said that I would. Some of the sisters in pink have taken time off--sometimes involuntary to let their skin heal. The other question is could you have a weeks worth at you destination? It takes longer to get undressed/dressed that the actual treatment.

Maureen

missingtexas's picture
missingtexas
Posts: 146
Joined: Jul 2010

I had a mastectomy and had to wait until the drains were out for radiation but to be honest, I don't know if there are any drains involved with a lumpectomy. I took a week break towards the end of radiation to let some burns heal but otherwise I didn't need any recovery time and could have made a trip when it was over. :) Good luck, I hope all of your timing works out perfectly!
Dana

MAJW
Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

There are no drains involved with a " simple" lumpectomy...But if many lymph nodes are removed, that could involve a drain, according to my breat surgeon....I only had 3 removed so no drain....I had the surgery at 1:00 and was home on the couch resting comfortably at 4:15.....I started chemo 3 weeks after the surgery, from June through August...started radiation in September, 6 weeks....they have to wait until your incision is properly healed before starting rads....I had zero problems with the rads and I credit that to using the cream the rads oncologist gave me....I used it faithfully...kept a tube in my purse and put it on before I put my top back on then three more times before bed...but NEVER more than 4 hours before treatment as it can interfere with the rads...I always showered before I went...I didn't even start turning pink until week 4...I even questioned if it was " working" ...lol. I did have fatigue, but that was due to coming to rads after chemo....I think you'll be fine for your trip....especially if it's a relaxing vacation....just rest when you feel tired...

Have fun!
Hugs, Nancy

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

I had a lumpectomy and started rads about 6 weeks after my surgery. They wanted to give me time to heal. I never burnt, but, got very red and tender. There is a post on here I can bump up with lots of info on rads if you want me to show it to you.

Good luck,

Angie

Rague
Posts: 3386
Joined: Aug 2009

I had a different TX plan in that I did 4 DD A/C neoadjuvant, 2 weks later mast., 3 weeks later 12 weekly Taxol and a week after last Taxol started rads. Taxol had been very nasty and I started rads completely EXHAUSTED. I felt better every day of rads (25 days). I certainly felt up to taking a trip after rads were over 'energy-wise'. Unfortunately I'm one that burned very bad after rads so that would have kept me from going on a trip. Certainly being careful with skin care is the way to go which I had been very diliigent about, but it is no guarantee that you won't burn. I thought I had made it without burning as I didn't get even slightly pink til 24th one and a little more pink on day 25 (last one scheduled) but nothing to 'worry about'. Wrong - the next morning I woke to the entire radiated area blistered and it kept getting worse for quite some time. Dr was surprised that I burned so bad as he would have expected it to have started being visiable sooner but rads continue to 'cook' after the last one. Not telling you this to scare you but there is no way of knowing exactly how you will react to rads as we are each unique.

Winyan - The Power Within

Susan

New Flower
Posts: 4135
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi
It was impossible for me to keep a perfect schedule. So many details you do not know, including you blood counts after chemo, healing after surgery, pathology report, range of motion for your arm, side effects from chemo and radiation.
In my case radiation machine was broken two times, so they had to reschedule twice, I did not feel well couple of days too. Most facilities do not do radiation on Holiday also.
Make sure you are having flexibility with you arrangements so you are able to cancel or reschedule at any time.
Good luck

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3604
Joined: May 2009

Rads for me were 6 weeks after my lumpectomy surgery.

Hugs, Lex

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

I think you should check with the rads onc also. Your MO might say no break, but the RO might be ok with it...but then you have one of 'those' decisions to make. If needed, could you adjust the trip to a long weekend and only miss a couple of rads treatments? How does the rads onc feel about an accelerated schedule? They can fraction the total dose in a variety of ways.

I did 6 rounds of TAC chemo, a bilateral, and then started rads 5 or 6 weeks after surgery. I did 44 rads treatments (2x a day). After 8 months of treatments, I could not have done a trip. But I had a rads rash and some burning...not as bad as Susan's. BTW, I'm triple neg IBC.

I hope this helps, and best wishes with your treatments.

Hugs,

Linda

mimikitty's picture
mimikitty
Posts: 30
Joined: Apr 2012

I didn't need chemo. I had a lumpectomy on 5/10. I have my first appointment with the radiation oncologist on 5/24. I believe the treatment will start shortly after.

Tux's picture
Tux
Posts: 541
Joined: Aug 2009

I had a lumpectomy & started rads 3-4 weeks afterwards. My onc really pushed the schedule, because I was a teacher and he wanted to get it started before school started in the fall.
I was glad to get it over with. Best wishes on the rest of your treatment.

AngieD's picture
AngieD
Posts: 504
Joined: Sep 2011

Thanks so much, Pink Sisters! I know it's impossible to predict now for me, but just hearing your stories gives me lots to think about.
Nancy, do you remember what cream your RO gave you? I'm sure mine will recommend something, but a backup plan never hurts.
Linda, I haven't seen my RO yet, so that's a good thought. So, did they cut your dosage (is that what they call it for rads?) down when you went twice a day or give a full dose and shorten the days you went. How does that work?
Thanks everyone! Keep your fingers crossed!
Angie

MAJW
Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

I was given, first, RadiaPlex...then after week 4 they switched it to Biofine....( sp?) ...many on this board used AQUAPHOR again sp? I was told not to use that until treatment was over because it is petroleum based, hard to get off, and can interfere with the effectiveness of the rads...difference in radiation oncologist...different strokes...I also continued using these same creams following the end of treatment for a month as we continue to " cook" for a few weeks....

Best to you...
Hugs, Nancy

jnl's picture
jnl
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

Be sure and ask your rads oncologist for creams Angie. I used Aquaphor, which you can buy in the drug store, and, my rads oncologist gave me Biofine for any burn that I might get. But, use what he says to use. And, I used it from the first day too. I wanted my skin to be as moist as possible.

Good luck

Leeza

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5514
Joined: Oct 2010

My surgery was April 4 and started radiation May 12 (2008)

Denise

mimikitty's picture
mimikitty
Posts: 30
Joined: Apr 2012

Just stumbled on this site which has recommended radiation start dates...

http://www.cmaj.ca/content/suppl/2007/06/14/158.3.DC1/cpg6-patient_version.pdf

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