3 Field Breast Radiotherapy ???????

Hi could do with some advise have just had appointment to go through info for radiotherapy , I have had right mast plus full lymp clearance 15/16 pos . since surgery I have also been effected with lympadema , because of my symptoms grade 3 ect I am having 3 field radiotherapy the onc told me this was more intence than the standard treatment ???
Because of the spread ect …
I was also told because of this there was a greater risk of muscle damage to arm or hand and my lymphedema could become worse also because of the large area that would be covered it could damage ribbs and lung on effected side …
I am now very worried about treatment because during chemo I had every side effect going so with my luck !!!
Also I am still in my 30s so if I did have probs with my arm it would be for life ,
I know I should look at it as finishing of the cancer but this is an unknown fact … I have done and had every thing they have given me but I always have been told this is the easy part …
Today it dosnt feel like that at all this is my body and Im starting to question parts of my treatment …
Help and advise would be greatfully recived ,
Thank you Lisa

I had 3 field RT and it was the most damaging part of treatment and the damage is deep and permanent and has affected my reconstructive surgery outcome.

I don’t know what extra chance it gives you but is needs to be good to make it worthwhile. Chemo was a walk in the park by comparison.


I had 4 field rads. 25 times and 5 boosters just around the tumour site, last year during Oct-Nov when I was 39. I am of the view that I will do anything that gives a better chance of seeing my girls (now 5 and 3) grow up.
Compared to chemo, rads was a breeze for me. However, I did get a burn to my neck just where it joins my shoulder which can get aggravated by my seat belt and I now have breast oedema and mild lymphoedema in my arm which are unpleasant side effects.
It is not an exact science. Psychologically I feel better for having done it, and the team who treated me could not have been more lovely.
Onc have to warn you of side effects, it does not mean you’ll get them all
Good luck in your decision


Hi Lisa,

The radiotherapy itself is not more intense,but you are having a larger area treated that incorporates the axilla (where the nodes were taken from). There is a risk of lymphoedema with irradiating the axilla after nodal clearance, but this far outways the risk of recurrence in my opinion. Do you already have lymphoedema? If so, it is true that this can fluctuate during the radiotherapy treatment, but it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t go back down again. It is important you have the support from a lymphoedema specialist early on, and follow the rules of prevention (see the breast cancer care leaflet on this subject).
I am not sure of the specifics of your treatment, but the lung damage is common and usually minimal (not enough to cause problems) and the ribs can become painful and if this is the case pain management should be sought early on.
Radiotherapy is always given safely, and only when needed, and it is an important treatment in reducing the risk of local recurrence, unlike chemo that deals with systemic recurrence.

Maybe it would be useful to gain some extra support from your radiotherapy treating team to get your questions answered. You will cope much better with the treatment if you are confident in why the doctors feel it is so necessary.

Good luck!

Breast Specialist Radiotherapist

Thank you ladies
Lauren yes I already suffer from lymphadima and am seeing a speclist about it but they are going to leave it until Iv had my treatment before doing massage ect …
I already wear a sleeve and they have ordered me a glove as I do get it in hand also find it quite painful …
Already having probs with neck and throat but having mri scan on that just before rads start so hope that will give me some answers .
I know I will have the rads it would just be nice to be in control for a bit !!!
I will ask more questions next time I go the ladies did seem really nice .

Lauren I have just read your post again thank you very much it has made me feel much better about the treatment I am going to have ,as you say the end result far outways the risks …I have to wounderful small children and nothing is going to stop me seeing them grow up , Thanks again for your post it does really help …