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Question About Stage IIA and Radiation Therapy

greyhoundluvr's picture
greyhoundluvr
Posts: 402
Joined: Apr 2010

I had my surgery 01/29 and elected to do the bilateral mastectomy for left sided breast cancer (prophylactic on the right). They found two positive nodes. I am half way through a 6 course cycle of Cytoxan and Taxotere. I have two oncologists in the same office that I work with. One sounded pretty definite that I would have radiation and the other said that he is not sure that the radiation oncologists will choose to radiate me. When I was telling my PS about this, he said that his understanding is that the cutoff is 4 positive nodes. I went on-line and found the most recent guidelines which say that radiation is part of the treatment plan for 4+ but there are no actual clinical studies that prove it has been of benefit in the 1-3 group (so there are no actual treatment guidelines). It seems like every major cancer center does it differently and many say it is "optional." I am going to ask to go ahead and set up an appointment with the radiation oncologist but am just wondering what others in this category did? Any help would be appreciated.

Chris

Mama G
Posts: 763
Joined: Nov 2009

so I am taking the radiation right now. Even though I'm not in your category I wanted you to know that the radiologist explained how it works to prevent the cancer from coming back in the first 3 areas it is KNOWN to return: the lymph nodes under the arm, the lymph nodes on your upper chest area, and the scar area. When I heard that it made it all worthwhile in my mind. AND with only 7 more to go, it hasn't been as bad as I imagined.
I just wanted to let you know this in case you chose to have radiation.\
God bless, and good luck,
Lorraine

greyhoundluvr's picture
greyhoundluvr
Posts: 402
Joined: Apr 2010

Thanks, MamaG! That is the way my oncologist (the one who seemed pretty definite I would be having it) explained it also and I was all mentally set that having rads would be the case. The only thing that makes me think twice is that the radiation is a one shot deal and if I have it now, I can never have it to the area again. But my husband and I both feel that with everything I have already gone through, unless that can be pretty definite that it just won't help, I might as well finish it all! I appreciate your input!

DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3886
Joined: Jun 2009

I had a lumpectomy with clean nodes. My treatment plan included rads to kill any stray cancer cells that were left from the surgery. Wishing you good luck if you do have radiation treatments.

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

I had lobular and that sealed the deal. I have 12 more to go and (knock on wood) am doing fine, just a little tired. I think they get together at tumor board and discuss everything, type, size, nodes, and then make a decision.

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

I had lobular and that sealed the deal. I have 12 more to go and (knock on wood) am doing fine, just a little tired. I think they get together at tumor board and discuss everything, type, size, nodes, and then make a decision.

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

I had lobular and that sealed the deal. I have 12 more to go and (knock on wood) am doing fine, just a little tired. I think they get together at tumor board and discuss everything, type, size, nodes, and then make a decision.

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

I had lobular and that sealed the deal. I have 12 more to go and (knock on wood) am doing fine, just a little tired. I think they get together at tumor board and discuss everything, type, size, nodes, and then make a decision.

Sunrae's picture
Sunrae
Posts: 808
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi Chris, I had 11 positive lymph nodes out of 17 removed along with a masectomy. I was stage 2A, but that may have changed. I'll be having chemo now and 30 treatments of radiation after that. I don't know what the right answer is for you but my mom didn't have radiation with her breast cancer and it came back in the scar tissue 5 years later so I'm a firm believer in doing rads if there is any question. Best wishes on making your decision.

jbug
Posts: 285
Joined: Nov 2009

I had IDC and DCIS...lumpectomy and negative nodes, stage 1a and also had full course of rads. My suggestion is that you gather all the info you need and take your time in making your decision. Ultimately, we all come to the decision that is right for our own lives, circumstances and personal beliefs/ideas.

Good luck w/your decision! Blessings...

Julie

greyhoundluvr's picture
greyhoundluvr
Posts: 402
Joined: Apr 2010

I appreciate the feedback - if there is even an "if" or "maybe" I plan to go through with the radiation. Like most everyone on the board, anything that will brings the odds of having to do this again down even a little is worth it...

Chris

24242
Posts: 1416
Joined: Mar 2001

It was explained to me 14 years ago that seeding of cancer can occur when they are dragging it out of us. The cancer can seed in the opening that is why radiation is done to minimize the possibility of this.
At that time they didn't think I needed radiation even though I had 11 out of 21 positive nodes and stage 3 IDC with HER negative. They told me at the time that radiation would only be a benefit of less than 10% for my survival. I decided when diagnosed that if I was going to do the treatments I would do whatever would help in my survival no matter how small. One reason for double mastectomy, minimizing my risks only, for a reoccurance.
That was 14 years ago and they have gotten a hole lot better at controling where they are radiating us.
Tara

greyhoundluvr's picture
greyhoundluvr
Posts: 402
Joined: Apr 2010

I appreciate your advice!

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2992
Joined: Sep 2009

The radiation is to kill any leftover or stray cancer cells from the surgery. They also told me that rads would benefit me by 10%, which is huge to me.

Good luck to you with rads!

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3602
Joined: May 2009

You never want to say if I would have. If your oncologist thinks that radiation treatments will help you, I hope that you do them. They really cut your risk down for a recurrence and survival. Good luck to you Chris!

Lex♥

ckmcclelland
Posts: 47
Joined: May 2010

I don't know but was told that everyone needs radiation. I didn't question it. I had DCIS and went through radiation--they didn't even check for lymph nodes because it was contained and caught very early at my annual mammo. I tell everyone not to skip there annual mammo. My doctor said it would have 4 or 5 years before anyone could feel a lump and it would have been so much worse by then. Those who skip annual mammos are playing a Russian roulette game in my opinion.

DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3886
Joined: Jun 2009

It seems that from reading these posts that not everyone has rads, except those of us that had a lumpectomy. But, a lot of the bc survivors that had a mastectomy have rads too. It is really up to your own oncologist and rads oncologist as to whether you, personally, would benefit from it. They take your diagnosis and your path report and any other tests you might have and judge from there. If you trust them, be sure you are getting the best treatment. If you feel hesitant, then get a 2nd opinion.

arbojenn
Posts: 118
Joined: May 2009

I had Stage II twelve years ago and had about the same chemo you did and a mastectomy. No radiation. It came back a year ago. This time, I DID do the rads. Fight it aggressively with all they have.

Ritzy's picture
Ritzy
Posts: 4382
Joined: Aug 2009

So sorry arbojenn. You just posted why if your oncologist says you need rads, you should do it. Wishing you luck!

Sue :)

sacgirl916
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2020

I have been recently diagnosed with stage 2B BC and cancer in my lymph nodes but they don't know how many yet. They will need to do the dye test to figure this out. I have been offered a lumpectomy with radiation but also the option of a masectomy. I leaning towards a masectomy and a breast reduction because i have large breasts, but i don't know if i should do a double masectomy. I am 44 and if i get BC in the other breast down the road, i don't know if i can go through this entire process all over again later in life. I am also diabetic which causes problems with healing. I am ok now but who knows later in life. Please, if you have any suggestions or recommendations, I would love to read them. Thank you

wallis2
Posts: 55
Joined: May 2019

I was diagnosed with Stage 1BC/2 lymph nodes on left side.  I had very, very, very, large breast too.  I had a lumpectomy, and decided I wanted a double mastectomy(there is a story behiind the lumpectomy). I thought the same thing about getting BC in the other breast thats why I got the double mastectomy to be done with because why would I want to be cut a second time.  The thing about making a decision is up to you because everybody situation is different.  Take me for example, first I had the lumpectomy and the thought came in my mind just take both of them and not have that thought in my mind about the other breast.  No one wants to be cut twice and go thru the process again.  I can only tell you about my situation and healing process. The lumpectomy wasn't so bad.  I was sore a little and I returned back to work after 6 weeks. I could have returned sooner but because of my profession, I had to wait to be sure.  My double mastectomy was months later and I wish I would have done from the beginning.  The recovery was longer and I was in such pain, but the doctor will provide med for that. I had 2 lymph nodes removed.  To be honest my under arm hurted worse because of the pulling.  I still can't lift my arm that well, but it's better. I think I had 26 rounds of radiation.  It started bothering me towards the end of it. My skin peeled and the burning was awful, but they have cream for that.  I think I was out of work longer. I am not a diabetic, but I have several family members that are diabetics and they have problems with healing especially with there toes or any cut on there body it takes a while to heal.  I know I didn't quite answer your question, but I only told you what I went thru. This website really helped me because I read a lot about the experience survivors had and went thru.  Talk to your doctor and ask lots of quesitons. It's your body and you are the one healing.  Smile

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