Radiation Therapy Dilemma

I’m done with my regular chemo, thank God, so it will be radiation therapy as recommended by my Oncologist.  Yesterday, went to consult with a radiation oncologist and I’m almost happy about what he said:  Usually the patients who undergo radiation have a minimum of 5 cm tumor  or with 3 lymph nodes positive for cancer removed.  Mine’s 3.7 cm and 1 lymph and 1 Rotter’s nodes.  He is not sure that I will benefit from radiation.  However,  some cancer cells might have attached or spilled into the nerves which the chemo might or might not have zapped.  So, I have 1 1/2 weeks to think about it on whether I will go on. I have some risks to consider, too: There is a risk to the heart because I’ve had left breast mastectomy and what I’ve read from the internet – a small chance of developing sarcomas.  And of course the inconvenience of commuting daily to have the radiation done for 33 days,  the discomfort of lying still ,  naked or almost naked for the procedure and the cost of the procedure.

Maybe I’ll get a second opinion or maybe I’ll ask my Oncologist about this.  It’s a sort of damn if you do and damn if you don’t.  Why couldn’t he just tell me outright that I don’t need the radiation anymore?

5 thoughts on “Radiation Therapy Dilemma

  1. It is a medical legal thing. If he says you don’t need radiation & you have a local reccurrence, you can sue him for bad advice. as a practicing oncology Doctor of Pharmacy, I say go with the radiation. The evidence is pretty compelling. In a nutshell, chemotherapy works best on metastatic lesions. It is frequently given for localized cancer with positive lymph node(s) if there is a chance of recurrence because it only takes once cancer cell to slip out through the the lymphatic system & take up residence for one to end up with metastatic cancer down the road. Radiation is used to prevent localized recurrence & in women who do not have overt metastatic disease has a greater impact on long term survival than chemotherapy does. All of that said, In the end, you are the only one who can make the decision. It is a game of chance and the prize on the table is your life, and quality of that life. It is scarier to have left sided breast cancer & the potential for heart damage from the radiation. Only you can decide which risk YOU are willing to take.


    1. Thanks for that helpful advice! It’s one of the reasons why I blog about my illness. I can get good advice for free 🙂 I went to the radiation oncologist recommended by my attending oncologist to seek a second opinion. No hesitation on her part, and she had me scheduled for Planning tomorrow. Did my research on internet that with tumor removed at least 5 cm or with at least one lymph node, one goes ahead with radiation. So I go, even as I’m anxious and fearful of the procedure.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. How did everything go? I have been thinking about you. I am so impressed by your bravery and I honestly don’t know how I would handle all you have been through. I hope you are well. Please me know how you are!


    1. When the trial comes, I was able to endure what I used to think I couldn’t. Anybody will do the same. I’ve undergone radiation planning where I laid under the CT Simulator and the technicians mark the places where they will zap me. Part 2 of Planning will be next week. I’m getting a stiff neck with this procedure because I have to look to the right without moving for an hour or more. Thanks for the concern.


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