May sound thick but.......

Does anyone know why some women need chemo, some women need radiotherapy and some need both?
I thought the reason my Mum was just having radiotherapy is because hers is hormone related but reading through the posts, other women who have hormone related bc have had chemo too. xxx

Hi bumblegirl,

No question is thick!  I’m sure other members will be along soon to offer you some support, but do consider phoning our helpline as well.  They will be able to offer you practical information as well as emotional support while you are supporting your mum.  They are open from 9-5 on weekdays and 10-2 on Saturdays.  The number is 0808 800 6000

Very best wishes


BCC Moderator

Hi bumblegirl.

My understanding about whether you require radio, chemo or both is that it’s more to do with the grading, staging and hormone receptors all in combination with each other. In other words, if the grade and / or stage is fairly high, you’re more likely to nerd chemo. Also if the tumour is HER2 positive, you’re more likely to need chemo.

Lots of women who have a lumpectomy will need radiotherapy. This is to ‘clean up’ any tiny cancer cells left behind from the surgery. Many women will have chemo before surgery to reduce the size of the tumour to make sure it can be successfully removed.

There are so many possibilities and mixtures of treatment, dependent on the type of cancer etc. it’s a bit of a minefield!!

I was initially told I’d need a lumpectomy, followed by radiotherapy, then Tamoxifen for five years, as my cancer was ER+ (oestrogen receptor positive). For me, that changed when they discovered that I had four tumours. Three were grouped together, but one was too far away to make a lumpectomy feasible. Therefore, I ended up having a mastectomy. This meant I didn’t then need radio or chemo, as all the cancer was removed during the op… There was no spread to lymph nodes, so no need for further treatment other than Tamoxifen.

Sorry for the lengthy reply… I hope I’ve given you an idea… The helpline may be able to give you more info and there are leaflets available for free that they can send or you can download them.

Best of luck to your mum with her treatment. Mel. X