Anyone chosen NOT to have Rads after Mastectomy and 1-3 lymp

Anyone chosen NOT to have Rads after Mastectomy and 1-3 lymp

Anyone chosen NOT to have Rads after Mastectomy and 1-3 lymp Here I go again. I just cant make up my mind. Im scared of all the side effects of Radiotherapy and at the same time feel I should go ahead with it. So if there is anyone out there who falls into the category above I would like to hear your reasons for choosing not to have Rads. Ie How confident did your consultants seem about the decision.?

Many thanks

From what I understand, rads give you more of a fighting chance of survival then chemo, hence are more important. Pls have it done, after chemo it’s a breeze, it doesn’t hurt and doesn’t make you sick. Worst part is hanging around in the hospital and the travel to and from.

My ma’s next door neighbour chose not to but then she is in late 70’s and was fed up with treatment.

I found I was tired after all my treatment but it’s not specifically radiation, it’s the whole deal. I am picking up now, but we’re all different you may feel fine the whole way through.
Whatever, pls give yourself every chance to get thru this and have the radiotherapy.
Best wishes

Hi Sue Hello Sue

Glad I picked up on your posting only you have replyed to mine a few times about the black hole after treatment you helped me a lot and I did get the feeling you were haveing a bad time yourself. I only hope things have picked up for you they are for me but only if I keep stress free and take little steps. (still not back to work)

Janet x

hang on in there Frances Do have the radiotheraphy, I know its an every day thing, but you must take everything you can get.

Why have we all been chosen to have this illness - although we don’t feel ill when we are diagnosed - that comes later with the treatment.

I didn’t have any side effects from the radiotheraphy and to be honest the five weeks all went pretty quickly really. I know I am lucky and live near the hospital, but please hang on in there and it will soon be over!.

Love Linda

Hello Sue I had grade 2 stage 2 cancer (4cm 1 node - with clearance)- mastectomy with recon followed by EpiCMF chemo. Radiotherapy was never recommended by my surgeon or oncologist. I was told there was no additional benefit for me of radiotherapy although there was a significant benefit from chemo and hormonal treatment. I would ask what the potential benefit is in your circumstances before coming to a conclusion.

Best wishes



I am currently getting Rads and Chemo together, although I am a little weak and my body feels a bit achy, I am still managing to work in the mornings and look after my 7 year old and 4 year old. Please take the Rads and give yourself the best chance ever of no reoccurence.

Good Luck


what an inspiration you are Diane, I cannot begin to tell you how you made me feel after reading about yourself with two young children to look after and going through the treatment. I have not started as yet chemo first time at the end of the week. You have given me strength by what you have written and I thank you for the bottom of my heart. Good luck I will face things much better now. Glenis

I had a mastectomy in Jan 2004, after being diagnosed with bc grade 2, 5cm lump with 3 lymph nodes involved. I had chemo and 25 rads with a bolus throughout over mastectomy scar.

It’s true that after chemo rads is the easy part of the treatment. Just think how you would feel if the cancer came back in the mastectomy scar area? You have done the chemo so please, please do think long and hard before you refuse to do rads.

I think we all need to do whatever we can to give ourselves as much chance as possible. This unfortunately means throwing whatever we can at the ‘c’ to stop it re-occuring. Having rads gives you that few more percent of getting the best possible odds for living.

Take good care.

can you tell me what you mean about a bolus throughout over the mastectomy scar. Thanks

Bolus A bolus targets the mastectomy scar area. This is an area that could be prone to a recurrence.

Bolus, a flabby, rubbery material, is used to ‘fool’ the radiation beam so it will deposit the maximum dose on the skin surface instead of a fraction of an inch deeper, as it would otherwise. Therefore, a skin reaction is almost inevitable in this scenario. Bolus is usually incorporated into radiation therapy when a surgical scar, such as a mastectomy scar, needs to receive a full dose of radiation therapy.

I did get a skin reaction at the end of rads (I had 25) but within a week of using Flamazine prescribed by oncologist, my skin was virtually back to normal.


Hi Frances I agree with others who say go for it, after chemo it is a walk in the park ( do not mean to sound flippen ). Hope you make the the right choice Val

Wrong message Sorry girls, Im really grateful for all your thoughtful and supportive comments but I think my inital introduction on this thread doesnt reflect the situation I`m in.

Basically I think that as I am slightly unusual in that I have elected to have a mastectomy when I could quite easily have had a lumpectomy, together with the fact that I only have one lymph node involved means that I am in a GREY AREA in terms of medical knowledge regarding the benefits for women who have radiotherapy following this diagnosis and surgery. A trial is starting to gather statistics regarding whether women in my category actually benefit from rads.
Part of my reasoning for having a mastectomy was to avoid having Rads. I was therefore trying to hear from women who fall into my category of treatment and diagnosis i.e. those women who have had mastectomies, whose BC has been a single tumour, no more than 5 cms, and who have had 3 or fewer lymph nodes involved. I am going to discuss this whole issue again with my consultant on Friday.
I hate the thought of radiation affecting my beautifully healed mastectomy and ANC site but at the same time I want to feel at ease with my decision. MY reasoning for this topic therefore was to hear from women similar to myself and try to get a feeling for the general choices women have made.


Hi Frances I’m not in your position as I had rads after mastectomy because of big node involvement and lack of clear margins at chest wall.

My general understanding is that the outcome for someone like you who has mastectomy without rads is same as for someone who had WLE(lumpectomy) with rads.

Key questions for your onc:

  1. What if any statistical benefit for rads? (when you know this you then have to consider your own attitude to risk.)

  2. What would you advise if it were your sister, partner, wife, friend?

Also I’d suggest called the BCC Helpine or Cancer Bacup for guidance and advice.

Hope you get some replies from women who have been in similar position.

very best wishes


I went for it. Hi Frances,

I’m slightly puzzled by the fact that you are in a “grey area”. I was diagnosed with BC at the age of 30 and, like you, chose to have a mastectomy. Surgery revealed that I had a 2.8cm tumour with two lymph nodes involved.

I subsequently had 8 doses of FEC and 15 sessions of radiotherapy. I have to say that radiotherapy was the least traumatic (both physically and mentally) stage of treatment.

I did not really suffer from radiotherapy burns, could still wear a bra and prosthesis throughout and still had a bath every night. Treatment took a maximun of 15 minutes (including set up).

As you are probably aware lymph node invovement is only one inidcation of a cancer’s ability to spread. I understand (although i may be wrong) that 30% of women who have 0 lymph nodes involved still go on to develop secondary cancers.

I suppose it all comes down to whether or not you can reach a decsion you are happy with the right now and are certain you will still be happy with in 6 months time, Speaking as someone who is now 1 year on from diagnosis, I have to say that my biggest fear is that every twinge and pain in my body is a sign of a reccurance. Knowing that I accepted everything medical science has to offer makes it much easier to deal with my fears.

Hope this helps.

Go for Rads… Hi Frances,
I too went through the same questioning as you about 4 years ago, I had a small 1.5cm lump and no lymph nodes involved. I had a lumpectomy to start with and then chose to have a mastectomy soon after for what I thought would be a better outcome and as I wanted a reconstruction I opted not to have rads as was worried about the skin. The onc said at the time as Im having a mastectomy then rads was not 100% necessary. I also had chemo and hormone treatments so thought I was covered.

Now I dont want to scare you but if in any way I can help someone else and save them from my situation I would, I did get secondaries and that started out as a lump on my scar where really I should have had rads, I try not to look back in hindsight but difficult, if I had my time again I would go for rads instantly and not worry so much about the aesthetic appearance of the skin, by what I’ve heard there are creams/oils to be used to make sure that the skin isnt that effected. Go for rads - please.

Best wishes