Radiotherapy instead of surgery?

Hi all

I have been looking at treatment plans. I have Grade 1 cancer which has spread to lymph nodes and so have been recommended surgery and then radiotherapy. I am not keen on having a GA with the surgery so I was wondering if anyone has just opted for radiotherapy to zap the cancer.

I realise this may sound ungrateful and churlish and I am very grateful to have such an amazing health service but I just wondered if it was an option

Z xx

Hi Z

Thanks for posting.

We often hear from people who are concerned about having surgery and in particular, about having a general anaesthetic (GA) and it isn’t ungrateful or churlish to be wondering about this.

Treatment for primary breast cancer depends on a number of different things including the type, stage and grade of the cancer and your general health. Treatment recommendations for primary breast cancer are made by the multidisciplinary team (MDT) and surgery is nearly always recommended to remove the cancer.

Radiotherapy uses high-energy x – rays and is given to destroy any cancer cells that may have been left in the breast and surrounding area after surgery. On its own it would not fully treat the breast cancer.

I wonder if you have a breast care nurse you can talk to about your concerns. As well as offering further information and support they may be able to arrange for you to speak to an anaesthetist about having a GA.

We offer a range of free supportive services for anyone who has had a diagnosis of breast cancer which you may be interested in. They include face to face and online courses and events.

In particular, talking to someone who has had a similar experience or who has had similar concerns can often be helpful. Our Someone Like Me service can match you with a trained volunteer who’s had a similar experience to you. You can be in touch with your volunteer by phone or email and they can share their personal experiences to answer your questions, offer support or simply listen to how you are feeling.

You can ring the Someone Like Me team on 0114 263 6490 or email them at, so they can then match you to your volunteer.

Do call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen to your concerns, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK - prefix 18001).

If you would prefer one of our nurses to call you. To do this, please complete this form ticking the box agreeing to a call back.

Our usual opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am - 1pm on Saturday.

Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.

Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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