Choice - rads over 3 or 5 weeks...??

My onc want me to have my rads over 5 weeks instead of 3, so I’ll get a lower dose each time. He says it will reduce the side effects. I am very pale and burn easily in the sun. I have/had a very low proliferating tumour, completely excised, with no lymphatic or vascular involvement. EN/PR scores 7 and 8.

Does anyone have experience of rads over 5 weeks that would back up the minimal side effects?

Dear Pegglass

While you are waiting for some replies from other members I thought you might find our publication on Radiotherapy helpful. On page 13 it does briefly mention that some hospitals offer the treatment differently from over 3 weeks, Here is the link:

Take care

Very best wishes


BCC Moderator

I had rads over 5 weeks. I am not sure whether I had the lower dose or a high one and they just wanted to give me more.
I had very little side-effects. I do have a bit of a tan-line at the edges of the rads-field and I found a bra uncomfy (changed to wearing a stretchy vest thing from Primark for the duration). I did moisturise pretty well and use the Aloe vera. But, I have always tolerated the sun well and have rarely got sunburnt, so my skin may just be more tolerant.
The only disadvantage of having it over 5 weeks is that you sepdn so many more days visiting the hospital daily. Sometimes I was seen quickly, but if a machine was playing up, there was sometimes a delay. You do get to know the other patients though (or et to read your kindle).

I had five weeks rads, plus a further boost week, specificlly to the tumour bed ie 30 sessions in all. I did get some peeling skin despite moisturising like mad, and still have a noticeable “tan” over the treated area, (I finished in September). I also found the area got very hot and at times itchy, but as it was summer, I could sit around the house topless, much to my husband’s amusement!
When I was checked by the nurse part way through and at the end of treatment she thought the skin reaction wasn’t too bad, but obviously I have no idea what it would have been like if I’d had treatment over a shorter time. Going to the hospital each day, (40 mile round trip) was a pest, but I had a fairly early slot which meant parking was easy and left the rest of the day free. I think it was done over a longer period because I’d had a partial reconstruction and it was hoped this would result in less shrinkage. It’s OK so far…
Good luck with what ever you decide.

PS does any one know if the tan/darkened skin fades eventually? Thanks

Thanks both!

I was told I’d be permanently ‘tanned’ - though as I’ve never tanned in my life I’m not sure where the melanin is going to come from!
I live a 30 minute walk from the hospital - and it is a 5 minute walk from my office, so having more appointments isn’t a logistical problem. So I think I’ll go for the full 5 weeks, as there seems to be no downside to spreading out the doses.


Hi pegglass
i had rads over 3 weeks plus 5 boosters, i burn terribly in the sun and expected all manner of problems, I had absolutely none. I worked every day along with looking after my 5 year old and taking her on days out, my levels of fatigue were manageable and my skin barely changed colour. You just don’t know how you’ll be affected until it comes to it.
Take care
Lydia x