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Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?


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Old 02-23-2007, 03:37 PM   #1
Atid
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Question Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

Trying to decide, after having surgery for a stage 1 tumor, 1.1 cm, clear nodes--whether or not to do radiation: partial breast or whole breast--or nothing. No chemo is planned. I am already on hormone therapy--Arimidex.

My various doctors all urge radiation since it would help prevent recurrence in that breast. But radiation does not increase survival rate. I'm worried about the side effects of radiation--lung scarring, fragile ribs, who knows what else.

All my naturapath friends say no to radiation, of course. All my mainstream friends assume a yes. I seem to be trapped in the middle ground. Anybody out there who can help or who has gone through this? Would really appreciate hearing from another agonizer about this decision. (Also, has anyone had experiencw with a prone breast board? that's one in which the patient lies face down, breasts going through some cut-outs, thus reducing the amount of radiation to internal organs, etc.)

Atid

 
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Old 02-25-2007, 04:55 PM   #2
mary09
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Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

Hi there,
For what it's worth, my mom went through the same thing. Lumpectomy, followed by radiation.. she started on Arimidex but her body did not handle well so she decided the radiation was enough. She got through the sessions. They were not painful, just stressful and made her very tired. 6 years later and she has tremendous pain in her rib area.....I am not saying that to deter you, it is probably the right thing to do, to take every precaution. There is no easy answer, you just dont want to do any of it. But I just wanted to share that it is true, there are lasting side effects. My mom only agreed to it because it was the second time she had breast cancer.
We were told that the chance for reoccurence "without" radiation was 30-40%, and with it, was reduced to 10% so she decided to go ahead with it.
Good luck with your decision, I know it's a tough one....yes, she had pain in her ribs but if it has prevented anything from coming back, it's worth it. Unfortunately we'll never know that....

Caroline

 
Old 02-27-2007, 04:55 PM   #3
koalabeach
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Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

Hi Atid,

This is my first post but I truly relate to your dilemma. I found a lump on 2nd Jan and had a lumpectomy on 24th Jan. My lump was only 8mm, the margins and nodes were clear. Same decision had to be made whether to do radiation or not. The Radiation Oncologist put up a good argument as to why I should and I also know that if I didn't and it came back later I would blame myself for not having done all I could to destroy the monster that is trying to attack my body. I start Rad on 8th March. My next decision is whether to do hormone therapy. I don't have any ovaries so the hot flushes are unbearable already without adding to the problem.

It's a hard call but it is one you and only you can make cause you have to live with your decision. Those that love you will still love you no matter what you decide.

Koalabeach

 
Old 03-07-2007, 02:40 AM   #4
Biddie
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Thumbs up Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atid View Post
Trying to decide, after having surgery for a stage 1 tumor, 1.1 cm, clear nodes--whether or not to do radiation: partial breast or whole breast--or nothing. No chemo is planned. I am already on hormone therapy--Arimidex.

My various doctors all urge radiation since it would help prevent recurrence in that breast. But radiation does not increase survival rate. I'm worried about the side effects of radiation--lung scarring, fragile ribs, who knows what else.

All my naturapath friends say no to radiation, of course. All my mainstream friends assume a yes. I seem to be trapped in the middle ground. Anybody out there who can help or who has gone through this? Would really appreciate hearing from another agonizer about this decision. (Also, has anyone had experiencw with a prone breast board? that's one in which the patient lies face down, breasts going through some cut-outs, thus reducing the amount of radiation to internal organs, etc.)

Atid
I had the same size cancer (twice). The second cancer returned in the same spot as the first six years later after being on Tamoxfin for five years. Following the second breast cancer I chose to undergo radiation in our state's major city some 1,000km from my country town. Eight years have past since then, I am no longer on any of the usual breast cancer preventitive drugs, I have my yearly mammograns and check breasts regularly.
To prevent the effects of burn to the skin from radiation use 100% Aloe Vera clear gel as soon after the treatment as possible. Before starting take large doses of the vitamin B group. Yes, it is a shock to the body and is a drawn out process. Having to get to the hospital daily, then waiting for your two minute treatment, I know it was worth it. Most important is have someone with you, friends are good medicene.

Last edited by Biddie; 03-07-2007 at 02:45 AM. Reason: clarity of information

 
Old 03-21-2007, 07:50 AM   #5
moondrop
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Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atid View Post
Trying to decide, after having surgery for a stage 1 tumor, 1.1 cm, clear nodes--whether or not to do radiation: partial breast or whole breast--or nothing. No chemo is planned. I am already on hormone therapy--Arimidex.

My various doctors all urge radiation since it would help prevent recurrence in that breast. But radiation does not increase survival rate. I'm worried about the side effects of radiation--lung scarring, fragile ribs, who knows what else.

All my naturapath friends say no to radiation, of course. All my mainstream friends assume a yes. I seem to be trapped in the middle ground. Anybody out there who can help or who has gone through this? Would really appreciate hearing from another agonizer about this decision. (Also, has anyone had experiencw with a prone breast board? that's one in which the patient lies face down, breasts going through some cut-outs, thus reducing the amount of radiation to internal organs, etc.)

Atid
Who told you radiation doesn't improve your survival rate? If that were true, why would they give it to us? I have infiltrating duct cancer and was told they will do a lumpectomy next week followed by 6 weeks of radiation. The radiation is needed to kill any potential remaining cancer in the breast. It would be dangerous not to do it. Otherwise I should be getting a mastectomy instead. I have chosen the radiation and lumpectomy. Besides, the radiation also helps to avoid recurrance. I suggest you talk with the doctors about this in more detail.

 
Old 03-22-2007, 07:18 PM   #6
el_libra
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Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atid View Post
Trying to decide, after having surgery for a stage 1 tumor, 1.1 cm, clear nodes--whether or not to do radiation: partial breast or whole breast--or nothing. No chemo is planned. I am already on hormone therapy--Arimidex.

My various doctors all urge radiation since it would help prevent recurrence in that breast. But radiation does not increase survival rate. I'm worried about the side effects of radiation--lung scarring, fragile ribs, who knows what else.

All my naturapath friends say no to radiation, of course. All my mainstream friends assume a yes. I seem to be trapped in the middle ground. Anybody out there who can help or who has gone through this? Would really appreciate hearing from another agonizer about this decision. (Also, has anyone had experiencw with a prone breast board? that's one in which the patient lies face down, breasts going through some cut-outs, thus reducing the amount of radiation to internal organs, etc.)

Atid
I had a lumpectomy followed by chemo and radiation in my left breast 16 years ago. Seven months ago I found a large lump under my right arm. My cancer came back in the breast that was radiated, by-passed my right breast and spread to my lymph nodes under my right arm. I had all the tests to find out that it has not spread past the lymph nodes. My case is very unusual. All cases are different. My radiation did not prevent a recurrance, but it did complicate the double mastectomy I had in December. Radiated skin will not heal. I had to have a flap of skin and muscle taken from my back to cover the hole in my left chest when my breast was removed. The radiated tissue had to be removed down to the chest wall. I also had a skin graft, but it's still not enough to replace all the tissue distroyed by radiation. I'll have to have another flap surgery from my belly after I'm done with chemo. Luckily, at my age I have plenty of flabby skin for flaps! You need to do what you feel best, and have doctors that you can trust. Get 2nd opinions if you feel the need to do that.

 
Old 04-04-2007, 08:43 AM   #7
JRaymond
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Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

I know you have probably already made your decision, but for others who may read this....I had a similar size tumor, no lymph node involvement, lumpectomy, no chemo. I did choose to do radiation and, for me, the treatment wasn't bad at all. I stopped on the way to work each morning, I wasn't fatigued....I did have some skin burning the last week, but it wasn't painful and it healed very quickly. I used two different types of lotion every day right from the beginning. I am also taking tamoxifin, but didn't start that until after the radiation. It's only been about three weeks, but, so far, I haven't had any side effects from that. I really trusted my doctors and they felt that the radiation could decrease my chances of a reoccurence.

 
Old 04-04-2007, 12:07 PM   #8
jill*#
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Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

Cancer treatment is extremely profitable. There is no difference in long term survival among women who were randomly assigned to get chemotherapy, get chemotherapy and radiation ,or get neither.Chemotherapy may shrink your tumors but it does'nt cure your cancer.

 
Old 04-07-2007, 05:02 AM   #9
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Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

The problem with not doing either chemo or radiation are the margins . Are you sure the margins are clear? They may have been on the path report but one cell over could be a cancer cell. No one can tell that. Thats the reason for chemo/radiation! I do not know your age but if you are premenopausal and this cancer is estrogen receptive I would do everything the doctors recommend.
Newfie 11

Last edited by newfie11; 04-07-2007 at 05:13 AM.

 
Old 04-07-2007, 01:37 PM   #10
jill*#
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Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

Where is the scientific proof that one is more likely to be alive in ten years if they get chemotherary or radiation than if they don't get these "treatments"?I have read scientific journals . There is'nt any proof.Trust and faith are terms that are best saved for religion, not science ,even on Easter.

 
Old 04-07-2007, 04:42 PM   #11
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Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

deleted



If I were in the position of Atid I would darn sure have both if thats what the doctor recommended. Breast cancer in a premenopausal woman can be extremely agressive. In a younger woman it can unbelievably aggressive. It depends on which type of breast cancer she has. Would you not try what is recommended by the latest in medicine? Most breast cancers can be cured if found and treated early enough. Breast cancer kills women with the attitude of lets ignore it and let fate do what it will.
There are many different types of breast cancer. Some are born killers and no matter what is done they will kill, some are born hugh ( they are not found until very large) but are not aggressive and take a very long time to kill, all the while thay can be stopped. Some will never grow and stay the way they are, but those are VERY few and far between.
I am sure there is scientific proof as far as the success of chemo/radiation or it would not continue to be done. In fact if you search "10 year survival rate for breast cancer with chemotherapy" there are lots of studies to prove the subject!
I see women now who I know didn't stand a chance in h... but are alive 10 years down the road BECAUSE of treatments. I also remember women who tried the latest vitamins (and I am for vitamins), teas, mushrooms, and something from Mexico that didn't last a year. Was it because the cancer was aggressive or was it because the treatment didn't work. Doctors are not God but they do what they can and there is many an oncologist in tears when one doesn't make it! Being in it only for the money is not worth the emotional strain.

Last edited by Administrator; 04-23-2007 at 11:21 PM.

 
Old 04-08-2007, 11:22 PM   #12
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Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

I am also facing the same dilemma of going through radiation and possibly chemo. My tumor was between 2 - 3 cm with clear margins and lymph nodes. I just had the lumpectomy and lymph node biopsy on Tuesday. My surgeon said I might be eligible for the balloon catheter type radiation called mammosite. My understanding is that the long and short term side effects are less severe and the treatment time is twice a day for 5 days. My surgeon also said that because I'm so young (I'm 31) an oncologist will probably suggest chemo as well. I don't understand what the point is behind that. I guess it's a question for the oncologist. I'm more afraid that I'll die or have my life shortened from the treatments rather than the cancer itself because of their toxic effects on the body.

 
Old 04-13-2007, 01:35 PM   #13
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Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

I went through the same thoughts. I was 42 when I found a lump. It turned-out to be a very aggressive cancer, but I had found it early. It was not in my lymph nodes yet. I thought that meant that I wouldn'd need all that aggressive treatment, but I did. They told me that it was the best chance I had to beat it the first time around, and lower the risk of it returning. I tell people that I am a chemo survivor. But I'm not sorry I did it. And yes it is scary!

 
Old 04-13-2007, 01:40 PM   #14
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Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

I agree totally! People came out of the woodwork with herbs and potions and alternative treatments. I finally had to just shut them out and I went forward with proven scientific studies and medicines. I too believe in boosting your body with vitamins and supplements, and I am using one right now that has given me my energy, happiness, and hope back. But I am a nurse, and know that by doing both kinds of treatments, traditional asian and western medicine I am improving my chances of survival.

 
Old 04-14-2007, 11:38 PM   #15
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Re: Radiation after breast cancer lumpectomy?

Hi,
I was initially diagnosed with breast cancer May 30, 2006. It was a terrible year to say the least. I kind of blame myself tho cuz when I went for my mammogram on may 30th I was told I hadn't been in for 10 years. I couldn't believe it had been that long. I had been so adimant about getting them yearly til we moved to arizona. I guess life got so busy. What an excuse huh.

I was diagnosed with infiltrating ductal/tubular cancer. My tumor was up to 3.5 cm. and my sentinel node biopsy showed 5 positive nodes out of 10. I was petrified.

When I saw my oncologist the first day (I wouldn't want their job thats for sure) she told me I was a Stage 3 (3 positive would have been stage 2) and if I did nothing my 10 year survival rate was 30%. My husband and I were shocked and looked at each other (because of the way she worded it- all she initially said was my survival rate was 30%). After finishing her sentence (adding if you do nothing) she explained to us what my options were and how much each treatment would help. So basically if I had chemo/radiation/hormone replacement therapy) my 10 yr survival rate went up from 30% to 76%. Its not 100% but nothing is and 76 sure beat 30.

Chemo wasn't bad but it was rough. All depends on what drugs they use on you. I received Adriamycin, Cytoxan and Taxol. Taxol was the worse on me but I knew I had to do it to live longer. No guarantees but I'm not ready to die. I then had 26 treatments of external beam radiation followed by 5 stronger doses they call booster treatments right on my mastectomy incision where the main tumor was found. Being a diabetic I was nervous about the radiation but it went well. I did get a burn on my neck to my chest the last week but it healed fine. They had me use aquaphor on my chest from day one after each treatment and when I was home as long as not within 2 hrs of my treatment. It really helped my skin alot and no problems as far as my diabetes went.

Chemo affected my diabetes because they give you steroids with each treatment. So I just ended up on insulin because steroids shoot your blood sugars way high. My highest was in the 500s.

Now I'm on the Arimidex 1mg a day for the next 5 years. I'm not sure what side-effects to blame to what. I have neuropathy in my hands and feet but my oncologist said that should go away in six months. But my diabetes will keep some of it but it is better. I've had hip pain with pain radiation down my right leg to my knee. My oncologist didn't think that was related to my arimidex because I have ruined my lumbar spine related to my job for 38 years. She said usually arimidex bone pain will be in your hands or feet so i'm not sure. It too is better tho because of physical therapy i've been getting.

My personal opinion is I would do it again even tho parts were rough. I'm not ready to leave this world yet, haven't met all my goals in life

Sorry didn't mean to rattle on.

Linda

 
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