Rads or not rads...

I appear to be a borderline case for rads.

I have had a mastectomy - my tumor was 3cm, HER+, slightly ER+, one lymph node touched - full anxillary dissection with 8 nodes taken out. I am having a chemo now, 8 cycles. I will definitely be on Herceptin and Tamoxifen after.

Now, the question is about radiation. Usually rads are prescribed when there has been a lumpectomy, or when there are more than 4 nodes touched… normally I should not have them.

Of course I would prefer avoiding rads - it would delay recon by a long, long time. but I don’t want to take risks… if it changes something, I want everything they have!!!

The doctor is hesitating, and says that I should be the one deciding. I’ve been perusing the web and there are articles on the subject, pretty much contraddicting each other… what is a girl to do? any idea?

Hi Lilith

They left the decision about having rads to me too, it was a very difficult one. I had a mastectomy for DCIS, they were mainly high grade cells and the area covered was large, 8cms. Luckily the lab results came back that there was no micro invasion, and no invasive cells. However because of the above they would offer me radiotherapy to my chest wall as a ‘belt and braces’ approach to treatment, (I hate that term).(They didn’t check my nodes, they said there was no need!).

I interpreted that as, although the lab results said everything was fine, they couldn’t be sure.

My decision was made more difficult as my husband thought it was a step too far. He is very scientific and understands the statistics they blind you with, which went right over my head. He explained that in my case the benefit was marginal, and had to be weighed against the potential side effects. However I felt that If I had not done everything possible to prevent this horrible disease coming back, I would find it difficult to move on emotionally.

I am nearly at the end of my rads now, my husband has been very supportive of my decision, but I must admit it hasn’t been a walk in the park, feeling sick and lethargic at the moment. My 11 year old son put it in a nutshell, ‘just do anything you have to to stop it coming back mum’. So I think of that and take one day at a time.

Good luck with your decision, hope this helps and hasn’t confused you further.



I took everything offered to give myself the best possible chance, rads isnt so bad, chemo was far worse…

Best wishes Lucy