Breastfeeding after low dose radiation for NHL


Hi there,

I had Stage 1 NHL in 2014 and had 6 rounds of RCHOP chemo and 15 doses of radiation for the tumor they found in lymph node on right side of breast.  Two years later at age 39, I'm 36 weeks pregnant with a baby boy (which we were able to conceive naturally) and I'm concerned about not being able to produce milk from the treated breast. I was wondering if anyone has had similar treatment and their success with breastfeeding. I'm also happy to chat with anyone about trying to conceive.

Thanks and best wishes,



  • Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3
    Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3 Member Posts: 3,814 Member
    edited October 2016 #2


    I'm hesitant to address this as a guy, but you said "anyone."  Most medical sites recommend waiting at least a year post-chemo for pregnancy, and you are well beyond that point as regards the drugs (R-CHOP). The fact that you got pregnant and are doing well proves that there was no long-term ovarian damage.

    Radiation is not particulate: that is, it does not leave anything in the breast tissue.  If there is any scar tissue it might affect production, but I doubt it could affect the breastmilk chemically.

    I would call both the radiation oncologist who treated you and the medical oncologist who administered the CHOP, and ask these questions.

    There do exist oncologisits who specialize in long-term survivorship, but this is apparantly a rare specialization, and I suspect pricy.  We had a writer here for years named Cathy or Kathy who wrote extensively about long-term survivorship issues. I believe she had had both lymphoma and breast cancer at differing tiimes. But I have not seen her at this site in some time. 

    If you search keywords here at the Boards you might find her; she lived in NC or Virginia, and was an RN also I believe.