Radiation or not after mastectomy

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cindy19
cindy19 Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Help! I am getting conflicting information from doctors on whether I need radiation after a mastectomy or not. I was diagnosed in November 09 of stage 2 breast cancer w/ 3cm tumor and 2 positive lymph nodes. I did a/c chemo to try and shrink the tumor, which it did not. But I had a lumpectomy and 13 lymph nodes removed. The lymph nodes came out clean, so the chemo worked on them. But they didnt get clean margins, so now I have to have a mastectomy. The thing that is unclear is do i need radiation, which can hinder reconstruction. I am 45 and was premenopausal (until chemo!) I am now doing twelve weekly chemo treatments of taxil, then will have surgery, then either radiation or not, and hormone thearapy. The only thing that seems in question is if I need radiation. Any help is appreciated!

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  • rm22111
    rm22111 Member Posts: 54
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    radiaton or not
    From the beginning my surgeon said I would need chemo, masctectomy, radiation, but she did meet together with the oncologist and radiation doc to confirm it. I met with the radiation dr, before surgery and then after for him to decide what needed to be done based on the pathology report after surgery. They may need to see the report first before deciding. I went ahead and had expanders put in and will have implants put in after radiation. As has been said many times on this site you should get a second opinion from a radiologist oncologist if you have not done that already. Hope this is helpful
    rm22111
  • e_hope
    e_hope Member Posts: 370
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    i am 37 and also stage 2b...
    i am 37 and also stage 2b... with 3.5 cm tumor and had 2 positive nodes out of 8 removed. I had a double mastectomy, chemo, and 7 weeks of radiation.

    I had expander reconstruction.. My plastic surgeon over expanded my expanders to allow for radiation shrinkage. I was filled with 450 cc of saline in my expanders and had my exchange a month and half after the 7 weeks of radiation was complete... ( i was very lucky, i only got a little brown on my breast and underarm and slight pink on my back ) My plastic was able to exchange me for 550 silicone implants. I finished radiation Nov 2 and had my exchange surgery Dec 17...

    I too was worried that radiation would hinder my reconstruction. Being only a large A cup before the big C... I was at least hoping to get a little bigger after all this hell was over... and I was able to. after my final surgery i ended up a very large C to small D..

    Point to my rambling is... I wanted to do everything possible to help prevent the return of my cancer. I really didn't want to do it.. but after talking with my oncologist, radiation oncologist, and family... i decided that i would proceed with radiation, because I knew i would never forgive myself if the cancer returned and i didn't do my full treatment offered.
  • Angie2U
    Angie2U Member Posts: 2,991
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    e_hope said:

    i am 37 and also stage 2b...
    i am 37 and also stage 2b... with 3.5 cm tumor and had 2 positive nodes out of 8 removed. I had a double mastectomy, chemo, and 7 weeks of radiation.

    I had expander reconstruction.. My plastic surgeon over expanded my expanders to allow for radiation shrinkage. I was filled with 450 cc of saline in my expanders and had my exchange a month and half after the 7 weeks of radiation was complete... ( i was very lucky, i only got a little brown on my breast and underarm and slight pink on my back ) My plastic was able to exchange me for 550 silicone implants. I finished radiation Nov 2 and had my exchange surgery Dec 17...

    I too was worried that radiation would hinder my reconstruction. Being only a large A cup before the big C... I was at least hoping to get a little bigger after all this hell was over... and I was able to. after my final surgery i ended up a very large C to small D..

    Point to my rambling is... I wanted to do everything possible to help prevent the return of my cancer. I really didn't want to do it.. but after talking with my oncologist, radiation oncologist, and family... i decided that i would proceed with radiation, because I knew i would never forgive myself if the cancer returned and i didn't do my full treatment offered.

    I didn't have a mastectomy
    I didn't have a mastectomy Cindy, but, I had radiation. It seems that some that have a mastectomy had rads and some didn't. If you aren't comfortable with what you are told or confused, seek a 3rd or 4th opinion. This is important for you to fight bc and you want to do all that is needed, if needed. Let us know what you decide and find out.

    Hugs, Angie
  • katznc
    katznc Member Posts: 70
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    every one seems to be different
    I think that our dx are so varied and so is treatment. Rads are standard for anyone who has a lump to get any stray cells. I think after your surgery and a new pathology it will be a lot clearer what you will need. I had a mast first and do not have to do rads but may have to do chemo because my pathology was not as good as expected. I will likely will do hormone therapy.
  • cindycflynn
    cindycflynn Member Posts: 1,132 Member
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    Cindy
    I know how tough it is to be uncertain of what really needs to be done for this fight.

    I had a lumpectomy, so I knew I would need radiation. I do have a good friend, however, that did have a mastectomy and they also weren't able to tell her right away whether they would need to do radiation in addition to the chemo. Apparently they continued to monitor and run tests throughout her chemo, and before her final session told her that she wouldn't need the radiation.

    I'm sorry I don't have more details than that, but I want to encourage you to ask your doctors more about what information they are using to make their recommendations so that you feel more comfortable with your treatment plan. If they aren't able to make you feel comfortable, consider getting additional opinions.

    (((Hugs)))
    Cindy
  • BethInAz
    BethInAz Member Posts: 203 Member
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    Yes or No
    I was told that having a mastectomy equaled having lumpectomy with radiation after. I've had the bilat mast and nobody has ever talked with me about radiation. I've asked the surgeon about recurrence at the mast site and he said that it's a 2-4% chance of recurrence there - would look like pencil erasers on the skin. Would it have been the surgeon who would have recommended the radiation treatment? I'm wondering if radiation following mastectomy is indicated for lymph node positive pathology... Looking forward to more comments on this subject.
    Beth
  • Sharon40
    Sharon40 Member Posts: 93
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    mast & rads for me too
    I had a large tumor, we tried chemo first to shrink it as well. We did lump first, but didn't get clear margins. We even did a second lump (re-excision) and still did not get clear margins. We did a mast and then I did 30 sessions of rads. I have been done for 1 week and boy am I happy!! Good luck which ever way you go!
  • Megan M
    Megan M Member Posts: 3,000
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    Sharon40 said:

    mast & rads for me too
    I had a large tumor, we tried chemo first to shrink it as well. We did lump first, but didn't get clear margins. We even did a second lump (re-excision) and still did not get clear margins. We did a mast and then I did 30 sessions of rads. I have been done for 1 week and boy am I happy!! Good luck which ever way you go!

    I had rads, but, I also had
    I had rads, but, I also had a lumpectomy. It is my understanding that rads are to kill any stray cells that might be lurking after your surgery, whether it be a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. I had rads from my collarbone to underneath my breast as there is breast tissue in all of that area, so, a mastectomy can't get all of it, from what I understand. Hope you can get some answers. Good luck!
  • carkris
    carkris Member Posts: 4,553 Member
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    Megan M said:

    I had rads, but, I also had
    I had rads, but, I also had a lumpectomy. It is my understanding that rads are to kill any stray cells that might be lurking after your surgery, whether it be a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. I had rads from my collarbone to underneath my breast as there is breast tissue in all of that area, so, a mastectomy can't get all of it, from what I understand. Hope you can get some answers. Good luck!

    I think it depends on the
    I think it depends on the pathology. I had lobular cancer so I am having radiation after mastectomy
  • DianeBC
    DianeBC Member Posts: 3,881 Member
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    carkris said:

    I think it depends on the
    I think it depends on the pathology. I had lobular cancer so I am having radiation after mastectomy

    Just wishing you good luck
    Just wishing you good luck in whatever your doctor's decide and you decide is best for you. I thought rads were given to most bc survivors now, but, I just go by what I have read here on this board. Take care!