To do radiation?

Mosis50 Member Posts: 59
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I have one more chemo session to complete 8 rounds for breast cancer after I had a simple mastectomy done. I have no lymph node involvement. I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma (stage 2 due to the size of the tumor). I am ER and PR negative. Now I am worrying about whether radiation should be discussed with my oncologist. He and my surgeon agreed at the beginning of this journey that there was no need for radiation. I don't want to get down the road and wish I had gone that route. It seems like radiation is something most people do. I need advice and I have always been impressed with the knowledge level of those who respond on this site. September 22 is my last chemo of taxol. I had 4 rounds of AC before the taxol. Then had 2 rounds of taxotere and had a bad reaction and my oncologist changed it to taxol. I will be glad when this is over because my side effects seems to be getting worse with each session. It is getting very hard keep working. I hurt all the time and I am so tired I can hardly move anymore. Glad there is just one more to have to tolerate. Thank you for your advice and your prayers! Susan


  • inkblot
    inkblot Member Posts: 698 Member
    Hi Susan:

    Hang in there! And HOORAY for the fact that you're almost done with the chemo!!!

    Re the radiation: It seems that it is more commonly recommended for women who have lumpectomies. I know of only a few ladies who had radiation, following mastectomy. They had greater nodal involvement and one lady had nodal involvement above the breast. Every case is different. Since your nodes were clean, it would be interesting to hear your doctor's qualification for following your chemo with radiation, if they do indeed change their minds from their initial "no rads" opinion.

    I had 37 rad treatments as the final leg of my total therapy. I had lumpectomy. I read and studied everything I could get my hands on which may logically give me an "out" of radiation. Needless to say, I found no such "out". I was hormone negative and strongly Her/2neu positive. Radiation is typically used to clean-up/destroy any remaining stray cancerous cells which may be hiding out in the breast/nodes.

    Just my personal experience on the subject.

    Your doctor's should answer all your questions. Meanwhile, you may want to research at: Very reliable info (there's a detailed section on radiation) which may lend some greater insight. To my knowledge, radiation is not elective and keep in mind that it is not without risks. If you're still not comfortable with your current teams' recommendations, then I'd encourage you to get another opinion.

    Good luck and hope you're planning something special to celebrate your completion of chemo!

    Love, light and laughter,
  • stillscared
    stillscared Member Posts: 3
    Hi Susan - All same for me, but I'm stage I -had 2 chemos for 12 weeks including Big Red, then 45 rad txs. Oh, my doctors insisted no chemo necessary, however tumor size changed that. Oncol. prefers agressive txmnt, which included rad txs, "go for the cure". I'm glad I did because I know that I have fought well. Rad & chemos will make you tired for a long time, but it is not painful, and could work better in combination. Use the same Aloe Vera gel for the rad site that you use for scalp, doesn't that feel so very good! Temp changes - sunburned (nipple may invert/darken/orange peel feel) not permanent changes. Ask Oncol if you can have break between chemo and rad; or if you need procrit or sternoids to help with fatigue. Side effects of rad include bone brittleness, take calcium pills after treatment. Susan I know how tough this is, I almost stopped chemos at next to last due to side effects, but hung on, glad I did. Hang in there and fight back with everything that is available. Fight Susan - hit it hard! Congratulation
    s on your chemos being done!! You are in my prayers. J
  • bunnie
    bunnie Member Posts: 233
    congratulations on getting close too your last treatment that is a great felling.I too have noticed that most women who have had the Radition also is ones that only had lump done i had a mass done in Jan of this year.I cant belive that in four short months it will have been a year since i satarted going through all of this.once again congratulations on being done give your self a special treat for getting through this.Amy
  • blossomtime
    blossomtime Member Posts: 98
    Congrats on being done soon. In answer to your question, I had modified radical mastectomy with reconstruction in June 2002. I had positive nodes and large tumor. I had 8 rounds chemo and also 12 weeks herceptin. I also had 25 rads. The radiation oncologist said that due to size of tumor and the number of positive nodes (6 of 9) that I had a 20% chance of chest wall recurrence. The other indicator would have been if margins not clear, but mine were. So needless to say I had the radiation. Hope this information helps, good luck. Sharon
  • TylersMom1
    TylersMom1 Member Posts: 57
    Hi Susan,
    Congratulations on your soon to be completion of chemo! It is a great feeling when that is done.

    I had stage 2 bc with one positive node, ER/PR positive and a lumpectomy. I had 4 rounds of AC and 4 rounds of Taxol then 33 radiation treatments and now on tamoxifen for five years. My experience has been similar to Ink where most women who have masectomy do not have radiation but I also know of a women that did have both.

    My advise is to follow your heart and what feels right to you. Get a second opinion if you do not feel comfortable with your current doctors recommendations. I just went through a hysterectomy because they found a tumor in my ovary. Originally the doctor just wanted to take the ovary but I told her I did not want to be worrying about cancer every time I had an ache. After she spoke with my onconologist she agreed. Sometimes we need to help the doctors see the whole picture. I wasn't just worried about this tumor, I was also worried about my peace of mind after and knowing that I have done everything possible to keep cancer away. It sounds like you are having some of these same thoughts.

    Good luck with your decision, you're in my prayers...Cheryl