I’m currently undergoing chemotherapy to shrink 2 tumours before my Mx. I’ve been told that if the chemo doesn’t shrink the tumours enough, I’d get rads before surgery. As my final chemo is due on 22 March and clinic review to decide the next step on 3 April, I’m starting to get a bit nervous about the next set of scans and would be good to know if anyone else is in the same position or has recently had rads first.
Never heard of it myself.
My tumour hardly shrank after chemo, but they removed it as it was.
I was told this too as my tumour was pretty big. I was also told that if your tumour is hormone responsive they can use letrozole to shrink it. Fortunatly they all of mine out so I am deflated but so far tumour free. I think they use all treatments to shrink it so that the cosmetic effect will be better after surgery.
Also, the more you can zap the little blighters into retreat before you cut near them, the less likely it is that any stray rogue cells will be able to find a new home and cause fresh problems around the surgical area.
So as well as making the possible difference between a lumpectomy and full mastectomy, at least maybe giving you and the surgeon a choice, it will significantly reduce the chance of local recurrence, that has to be good thing. Sorry that it leaves you in suspense re. the timing of treatments as you want to be planning your summer. Are Ladbrook’s taking yet on whether there will be a summer this year, or was it last Sunday, was that it?
PS. Kit, they can also use Tamoxifen to do pre-surgery (“neo-adjuvant”) shrinking, good news for those of us too young for letrozole. Didn’t shrink mine in four months, but it did seem to stun the litle nasties into shocked submission so what they found at surgery was mostly dead gubbins and leftovers (well, that’s not exactly what the path report said… but it had taken the edge off their crazy cancerous proliferating, a bit like deep-chilling live yoghurt)
Thanks for the replies. My onc reckons I’ll have to have an Mx anyway. I have a lot of swelling due to oedema and this needs to be reduced or apparently I’d have a high risk of recurrence, so your comments make some sense Hymil. I’m hormone receptive, but she hasn’t mentioned neo-adjuvant Tamoxifen.
From what I’ve read, radiotherapy can be used to shrink tumours but isn’t used often now.
Will see what they say when I go back to the breast clinic anyway. Onc isn’t too concerned about which order they do things in, as long as they do them.
Had my clinic review yesterday and surgeon doesn’t think I’m ready for Mx yet as chemo only partially successful. The tumours are removable in themselves, but if he cuts into such badly affected skin it would just ‘spread everywhere’ so will be having the radiotherapy first. Have planning appt on 10 April and start 4 weeks of rads from 24 April.
Looks like I might also be having Zoladex injections and Tamoxifen to try to shink it too but onc wasn’t around so will have to wait and see whether she wants me to have them at the same time or after rads.
Will update progress here later in the hope that it’s of benefit to anyone who has to rads before surgery later on.
Had my rads planning session today and tattoos done now. Won’t actually start treatment until 25 April ad the appt for 24 April is just for verification to make sure I’m lined up properly for the machine. Last session on 24 May.
Looks like I’ll be starting Tamoxifen as well just now. Have appt with GP on Thursday.
Started Tamoxifen last night. Seems OK so far, but still have a bit of SEs from chemo so not too sure. It feels good to be starting on something that might help to shrink BC while waiting for rads at least.
Have now had 10 of 20 rads. Not much sign of improvement yet, skin still firm and breast still just as swollen, but have been told it’s still early days as will continue working for a few weeks after I’ve finished.
I am fairly new to all this but I know that I was prescribed ice packs twice a day when I had a lot of swelling on the breast i no longer have…it worked very well so don´t know if this may be an option for you?
I am still very sore post op (one week today and am sitting here typing with an ice pack on my no breast area…)
Hi Sascha - have tried to reply a few times but posts have disappeared. My swelling is apparently due to cancer cells blocking lymphatic drainage, so not sure if ice packs would help. Might be nice to cool me down though. Thanks for the suggestion.
Finished rads last Thursday but haven’t been able to post anything for a while.
Had developed a rash at edgs of rads site soon after starting rads, but they didn’t seem too concerned. Has now spread to my back and I’ve had a biopsy taken. Seems to be a good chance it’s skin mets, but will have to wait until I go back to the clinic on 11 June.
Gave up posting for a while. Skin mets were confirmed so next step will be chemo again. Otherwise I would have been having my clinic follow up to see how rads went today. Don’t think it would have shrunk enough anyway. Expect this will be my last post on this thread as off to join the secondaries ladies now.