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Is Radiation Needed

fight2survive's picture
fight2survive
Posts: 15
Joined: Jun 2012

A little background -- was diagnosed in May with HER2/neu positive BC. I've gone through 6 chemo treatments and have just had a bi-lateral mastectomy. I will have to continue Herceptin until mid-May. My surgeon called the day after my surgery to inform me that the pathology report came back.

She was happy to inform me that it showed NO signs of cancer and that the 19 lymph nodes were all negative.

Tomorrow I meet with my oncologist to go over in more detail the pathology report, but my main question is: Do I have to go through radiation now?

Granted, I'll still have to heal from this surgery before I can have my reconstructive surgery, but geez! I would love to be able to bypass radiation and get on with reconstructive surgery.

Any input would be great!

Thanks,
Michelle

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

I know some pink sisters on here that had rads after chemo and their mastectomy surgery, but, not all have, unless they had a lumpectomy. I had a lumpectomy and had rads about 6 weeks later. From my understanding, you have rads to kill any stray cancer cells left behind from surgery. I've often wondered why all mastectomy survivors didn't have it also, as, some don't because they could still have stray cancer cells left behind too, as, you can never get rid of all of your breast tissue.

Congrats on your path report! That is great!

If I may ask, why did you have chemo if your nodes were clean?

Post to let us know what your onco says tomorrow Michelle and good luck!

Hugs, Megan

fight2survive's picture
fight2survive
Posts: 15
Joined: Jun 2012

The original MRI and PETSCAN showed three locations of tumors, one location was in my lymph nodes. My tumors were large so they wanted to shrink them before surgery.

It wasn't known until surgery if the nodes were clean or not. However, the tumors shrunk after each chemo treatment.

Michelle

debsweb18
Posts: 181
Joined: Jun 2012

after a mastectomy. I didn't need chemo, but had a very small tumor on 1 lymph node. The whole breast and lymph node areas were radiated. They can't get all of the breast tissue with a mastectomy. They also did extra radiation boosts at the incision site. They told me they see it coming back there.

Hope that helps.

Deb

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

I had radiation and I also had a lumpectomy. Have you talked about this with your oncologist yet, or, your rads oncologist as to why you need rads? I also had boosters at the end of my radiation treatments on my incision area only.

Rads aren't easy, but, I didn't mind having them as I knew it was one more step in killing the cancer.

Hugs, Leeza

Pinky68's picture
Pinky68
Posts: 206
Joined: Jul 2012

I asked my radiation onco if I could skip rads, I was just soooo wiped out by that point...He said absolutely not, it would increase my risk of reoccurance...

So I did the rads and made it through.
Take care & Hugs,
Joyce

Noel's picture
Noel
Posts: 3101
Joined: Apr 2009

If you have a lumpectomy, I think it is a must. I am hoping that you will.

Hugs, Noel

taiga's picture
taiga
Posts: 74
Joined: Jul 2010

I was dx. with ER+ and HER2+ cancer in my right breast in November and did my chemo first and had a bilateral mastectomy with tissue expanders May 1st. I was told I wouldn't need radiation since I was doing the mastectomy. One of my nodes came back positive and my breast surgeon discussed that with radiation oncology and determined I wouldn't need radiation. I just had my expanders exhanged for the implants and will continue the Herceptin until March. I think with a lumpectomy, radiation is a given.

fight2survive's picture
fight2survive
Posts: 15
Joined: Jun 2012

Well, I met with my oncologist and it is his suggestion that I continue with the radiation. He said they look at where I started for the treatment, not where I have gotten.

So with that said, I'm healing from my bi-lateral mastectomy and hope to be able to start radiation the last week of October. My Hgb and Hct levels are low and therefore they've put me on prescription strength iron. I've got to have my levels up before they'll start radiation.

Michelle

Noel's picture
Noel
Posts: 3101
Joined: Apr 2009

I am glad to know that you are going to have rads Michelle. It is just one more gun in our arsenal against bc. Hoping also that your iron levels will go up!

Hugs, Noel

Kylez's picture
Kylez
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

Michelle, rads are not easy, but, very doable. We'll be here to help!

Hugs, Kylez

desertgirl947's picture
desertgirl947
Posts: 365
Joined: Oct 2012

Rads are manageable. I just finished my 33 the last part of September. I did not have an issue with fatigue, which is a problem for many. I did have some problems with burns, though. Because my med people kept a good watch on the skin, I had quick healing. The timing of the appearance of the burns (one nasty one after the initial 28 and two after the 5 boosts) was such that I did not get off schedule.

If your goal is to be as rid of the cancer as possible, do what is recommended. The challenges that occur, whether it be rads or chemo, are for a short time when you look at the big picture.

kacee999
Posts: 109
Joined: Oct 2012

I would go for it (get the rads). You've come this far and endured chem (the worst). Rad is not that bad by any means. Worst effect I had was the last three my skin got a little oozy and I had to take pain pills and could wear clothes for about 5 days. But next to chemo it was a walk in the part. That extra kick could save your life down the road.

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