Has anyone declined radiotherapy

Hello everyone, I’m 68 and I was diagnosed in Sept with E+ IDC, had my op 3 weeks ago, wide excision + sentinel node biopsy. I had a 5mm lesion removed with a good margin & my lymph nodes are clear.

I saw my oncologist last week and I have been offered fast 5 day radiotherapy + 5-10 years Letrozole. If I was 70, apparently I wouldn’t be offered radiotherapy but at 68 …in his words…it’s a belt and braces approach.

My cancer was low grade & we discussed the percentages re further treatment or no further treatment and it’s 1-2% in 10 years. I have decided to start on Letrozole (not an easy decision) but feel I don’t want to put my body through radiotherapy as well. I have b12 deficiency & the shock & trauma of the last few weeks has hit me hard with fatigue, tinnitus & balance problems. Stress & b12 deficiency are not good bedfellows & brain fog kicks in quite badly which affects my decision making skills.

My oncologist is phoning me this week to get my final decision on radiotherapy.

I’m having a chat with my BCN tomorrow & also my GP before I make a final decision.

Has anyone opted just for hormone treatment & not radiotherapy?

Hugs to all


I haven’t been in your position but can understand you feel you’ve been through enough. I moved straight from chemotherapy (which was very unkind to me) to 15x daily radiotherapy. I’m not sure what you expect but I found it a doddle after chemo. My oncologist once said he thought radiotherapy made the greatest difference, of all the treatments.

You have a low likelihood of recurrence, let alone metastasis, and may well feel you’ve had enough. My mum had just a lumpectomy on each breast and Tamoxifen for 5 years. About 15 years later, she had a different breast cancer and needed radiotherapy and Tamoxifen for 10 years. With that in mind, I had no fear of breast cancer and a recurrence never occurred to me, especially as I’d had the full package of treatment. The odds were around 75% survival rate. One in four isn’t bad - until you find you are one of the unlucky side of statistics.

You have great odds but, with my secondary bc diagnosis, I have a different viewpoint now. The risk for you is low but it’s still there. There is no going back from a secondary bc diagnosis and I would say to anyone - take whatever primary treatment is offered. Life is too precious. You may feel you can’t take any more but it’s only 5 sessions, which last about 10 minutes, most of which time is spent getting you into the exact position. It’s painlesss (though there may be pain developing later - I still have tender ribs after over two years). 

In the end, it IS your decision. It’s your body - you know it best. It’s your mental wellbeing - you know yourself best. If you’re not a fretter, leave well alone. If you tend towards anxiety, do it because otherwise you will be worrying about bc coming back for the rest of your life. The odds are definitely on your side. But, as I’ve learned the hard way, statistics are only statistics, not promises, not guarantees. The odds of winning the lottery are ridiculously low but someone wins. The odds of your cancer returning are very low but…

I’m sorry to be unhelpful but I feel it’s important to think of the other viewpoint. I wish you all the best, regardless of your choice, and I hope you get your side effects sorted out. I was comforted to see you have balance problems as it’s not a SE often discussed and it’s good to find a fellow wobbler!

Jan x