Should I have radiotherapy?

After being called back following a routine mammogram I was diagnosed with an 8mm area of DCIS low to intermediate grade. I had a wire guided lumpectomy on 28th Jan. This morning I had my follow up appointment where I was told that I didn’t need any more surgery as they had achieved clear margins. They then referred me to the oncologist who I was able to see this afternoon. My problem is they have left it up to me whether I have radiotherapy or not and I don’t know what to do!! My mum had breast cancer when she was 42 and had a full mastectomy and is still driving us mad at 85. I am 53 and am not sure if I want to live through the next few years wondering if it has come back. I would really appreciate some opinions. 

Hi Helen, Radiotheraphy is fine and personally in your shoes I would have it, I had a 4mm area of grade 1 Invasive and was very pleased to be offered it as an extra insurance against ever being in this situation again, it’s totally painless and the worst you should get is a sore sunburnt boob! xx Jo 

Hello Helen


I am sorry you have such a difficult decision to make.

I think If I were you I would want as much information as possible. Questions that come to mind are:


How good are the surgical margins?


What is the chance of recurrence of the DCIS over the next 5 and 10 years without radiotherapy and with radiotherapy? They should be able to give you percentage figures.


If you were to have a recurrence what is the chance of it being an invasive cancer as oppose to DCIS?


If you chose radiotherapy, what is more likely, recurrence of the breast cancer or development of a cancer caused by the radiotherapy? (this is very rare)


How long will follow up care be for and how closely will I be monitored?


Things in your favour are that it was not high grade and was small.  


Hope this helps.


I lost my mum to breast cancer 13 years ago but we were told hers wasnt a genetic type so there was no reason to test, im one of 3 girls as was my mum but im the only one since to have been diagnosed , we asked again and were told mine was a coincidence, both of us had oestrogen positive bc which is the most common and mine was Tubular which isnt linked to a genetic type, of course ask your team all these questions but in my case we all thought it would be something inherited after all but it would appear not xx

Blooming heck that’s all you need a dithering Oncologist isn’t it??If you didn’t feel happy with the advice I would ring the breast care nurse and ask if you can be seen again to discuss pros and cons properly (maybe with another oncologist or the breast surgeon.)I found my surgeon alot more helpful and knowledgeable than the Oncologist who to be honest was rubbish!!!There are risks with radiotherapy but they are not so great that it would have put me off in your situation.They position you as carefully as possible to avoid your heart and only treat the exact area.May be worth ringing the helpline here as they have specialist nurses.Good luck,don’t let them fob you off you need more info to reassure you .

Ps if you want to start a new thread to ask your own question click on “new topic”.Jill