radiotherapy after mastectomy

I just posted about my own treatment but a friend is having chemotherapy at present to be followed by radiotherapy.

She has long scars from her surgery and no nipple, can anyone tell me how the radiotherapy is given in her circumstances? is there anyone out there who is in a similar position?

I suggested she have a look at this web site but she isn’t in the right head place yet, never the less she was keen for me to check out what will happen to her.

I have found reading your posts most helpful and even when I have not posted have read avidly everyone elses-so thanks everybody.

Hello itsallgonetu and friend,

I am assumming from your Post title you are asking how radio is given after mastectomy, and if different than when given after lumpectomy.

I had radio after mastectomy. I don’t think there is any great difference.  Your friend should have a planning meeting and also have the areas marked where the radiotherapy will be aimed at. This will be around the area where the cancer was, and around lymph node area (if relevant for your friend, eg. If lymph node involvement). The area marked will be where the radiotherapy will be aimed.  How many sessions she will have can vary but 15 sessions over 3 weeks can be a common timeline.  

I am sure you can advise her about what may happen during each session, but they should go through it at the Planning Meeting as well. If your friend finds it difficult to put her arm up and back when lying, make sure she lets them know at the Planning Meeting. 

Best wishes to you and your friend, 

Chick ? x

Hi, I’m currently in the middle of my radiotherapy treatment, following chemotherapy after a full left mastectomy and axillary clearance. I don’t know what the treatment is when you still have a breast but, with just a scar, it’s very simple: put your arm back to expose the marked areas for treatment and just lie still. A few beeps and buzzes and up you get again. Sometimes, if you had a left breast removed, you are required to use a breathing technique to ensure full protection of the heart but it’s not been asked of me. Then it’s moisturise and moisturise again till the next day.


The procedure has been clearly outlined by chick 1 but I would add that, no matter how crap your friend feels during chemo, keep up those exercises. I didn’t as I couldn’t focus on two things at once! I needed a referral to the physio before I could start radiotherapy because my scar and remaining breast muscle had tightened too much. So I’d advise daily massage of the scars using Aqeous or E45 cream and as much of the breast exercises as she can manage, even if it’s just stretching the arm a little bit over a pillow till she can comfortably get it to ear-level. If she had her lymph nodes removed (you say long scars), there’s the risk of cording which will limit movement, especially if it moves into the armpit. Exercise is so important - I wish I’d had a bit more common sense! 


I hope it goes well for you both, Jan