Fear of radiation after lumpectomy

Posted by diane12 @diane12, Apr 19, 2018

I was seriously thinking of refusing radiation after lumpectomy because I had complete removal of tumor with wide negative margins. I was convinced that there would be no lung, rib, or heart radiation by using the prone(lying on stomach) with breast hanging down. They have been very careful with treatments & very accommodating so after 4 treatments I am feeling more secure by my decision to do this to ensure all cancer was caught.

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I had radiation too. It reduces the risk of cancer coming back from about 20% to less than 5%. That’s a big reduction . So far I’m glad I did it but it’s only been 4 months.

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My radiation oncologist told me radiation offered a risk reduction of 55% to 60% for recurrence. Since my negative margin was only .5 mm, I went ahead with radiation and tolerated it well. I had all treatments on my back, and the technique did not affect my heart or lungs despite the tumor being quite deep. I did, however, refuse chemo. That only offered a 3% risk reduction. Totally not worth it in my book.

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@jcolby

My radiation oncologist told me radiation offered a risk reduction of 55% to 60% for recurrence. Since my negative margin was only .5 mm, I went ahead with radiation and tolerated it well. I had all treatments on my back, and the technique did not affect my heart or lungs despite the tumor being quite deep. I did, however, refuse chemo. That only offered a 3% risk reduction. Totally not worth it in my book.

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I agree with you with chemo. The damage from it outweighed the drop in risk. Not worth it.

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It is important to remember that every person is different. The percentage chance of recurrence varies a lot from person to person and for each type of cancer along with many other factors. What might be right for one person may not be right for another. That's why it is imperative that you discuss your risk reduction options with your cancer care team.

There are tools that medical professionals use to calculate risk. In addition to these tools, they consider your personal preferences. It is advised to use these tools with your oncologist. It's a great way to talk with your care team and make an informed decision about what is right for you.

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I too had a lumpectomy and radiation. I felt better about having radiation than chemo. That was almost three years ago now.

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It is such a personal decision. You are doing the right thing, looking at all of your options, weighing all of the information. I had a lumpectomy with micro mets over five years ago. Chemo wasn’t recommended, but Tamoxifen was and I could only tolerate the side effects of that drug for two and a half years. I was in a support group for breast cancer and that support was tremendously helpful. I wish you all the best as you navigate this hard path.

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@sita

It is such a personal decision. You are doing the right thing, looking at all of your options, weighing all of the information. I had a lumpectomy with micro mets over five years ago. Chemo wasn’t recommended, but Tamoxifen was and I could only tolerate the side effects of that drug for two and a half years. I was in a support group for breast cancer and that support was tremendously helpful. I wish you all the best as you navigate this hard path.

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I totally agree with @sita & wish everyone strength & knowledge to make the right decisions for their condition.

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I am 20 plus years survivor of breast cancer, DCIS. I had a lumpectomy and radiation and chose not to do the tamoxifen. Your decision depends on you and your family, along with your oncologist input and type of cancer you had. When I had cancer i had to come to terms with the fact that it was my decision and not someone else's on how it is treated. The other disappointment I had and still do to some extent is the lack of connection with the naturopaths and medical teams and dietitians when it comes to these decisions. I made the right decisions for the times but if it were today, I might think twice about radiation for what I had, and would include a vegetarian or vegan diet and use only natural personal care products as my road to good health. The only side effect I had (that I know of) with radiation therapy was a terrible skin rash on my breast that the radiologist said was not caused by radiation, but I got another opinion from a dermatologist and she said it definitely was. It was treated with cortisone and did not return. I did use supplements during radiation and went about my daily life and work. Again, this is such a personal decision that may not be best for you.

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@phine

I too had a lumpectomy and radiation. I felt better about having radiation than chemo. That was almost three years ago now.

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Welcome to Connect, @phine. I'm glad to learn that you are doing well. There are so many factors that can influence such a vital, informed and personal decision; would you be able to share what were some considerations that led to your decision?

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Congratulations on the 20+ yr survivorship. I guess the old saying no pain – no gain is correct. I have the rash too & it really is a pain.

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Did anyone else in this discussion besides @rpierro decline Tamoxifen treatment after having a lumpectomy and radiation treatments?

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