Time between lumpectomy and radiotherapy

Hi there.  Wonder if anyone has any info on optimum time to commence radiotherapy treatment.  I know the NHS standard is 31 days, but because of complications I am unlikely to start my rads until 45-50 days after lumpectomy.  Do others know of any effectiveness studies, or what has been there experience?  Any info much appreciated.

Sorry spelling “their”!

Hi Patricia

My oncologist also send you can have up to 12 weeks between surgery and follow up treatment. Mine was chemo first and then rads.

This site is full of people who understand exactly what you are going through. Unfortunately those who haven’t been through it, find it very difficult.

Hope you find support here and good luck with the radiotherapy.

Sending a hug x

hi Patricia,
Crikey! not surprised you’re upset with the in-laws, how crass. Mine was an early screening diagnosis too - 7mm, grade 2 IDC, had rads & now tamoxifen. I feel lucky screening picked it up so early. At my discharge appointment, the oncologist said they dont use the term ‘cure,’ but it is as near as it could be.
I’ll certainly take that!
ann x

Hello Patricia


some people are just so insensitive aren’t they.  I had a good friend visit this morning and she kept going on and on about how brave I’m being and about how she wouldn’t be able to cope with a similar diagnosis.  I ended up being a bit sharp and saying that unfortunately when life throws something like this at you there’s no choice but to get on with it, and that’s just what I’m doing with the support of family and friends and you wonderful ladies who I call my virtual friends!


i had my surgery on 2nd Dec - WLE and sentinel node biopsy and should be starting radiotherapy in a couple of weeks.  I started taking anastrozole last week.



Hi Patricia, I think your in laws can now be referred to as the outlaws! Unfortunately some people need to recognise what’s in their head needs to stay there and not come out of their mouths!!
My diagnosis was DCIS and I had my first op on 19th September and 2nd one on 27th October. My radiotherapy started on 7th December. My consultant told me it should start within 6 weeks of the last op but not before we are healed. I drove myself there and back each day - I only live 10 minutes away - and there was always someone to talk to when I was there. It was like a little radio social club! Good luck Patricia xx

Patricia, what a set of relatives! But so many people think they know about breast cancer, and they actually know very little. A friend of mine said her daughter in law’s mother has the sort of breast cancer that gets picked up by screening. Err, which particular one is that?? It could be any!


I had a 10 week gap between surgery and starting radiotherapy, my oncologist was very laid back about it and said my cancer, DCIS takes years to develop so a few weeks or months didn’t matter. He did say they move much quicker if someone has an aggressive tumour that they want to tackle quickly. 

Your six or seven weeks is pretty standard I think. The guidelines say 31 days, but it doesn’t seem as if that’s what usually happens.


I hope you’re feeling better about things now, I found this site a real godsend, it’s great that there’s a place to talk to other people going through the same things.

Hi Patricia I am in exactly the same boat. I had WLE 17th nov clear margins no lymph node involvement so rads and tamoxifen planned which I am ok with but only just got initial oncology consultation through for 30th jan. My bcn said it will be 3-4 weeks after that before the program of treatment starts which would take me over the 12 week deadline. I’m annoyed and frustrated and makes me wonder if it’s really needed that much if they are waiting so long. Can’t get through to anyone in oncology to try and speed things up. Phone calls go unreturned. My family have been great the most insensitive have been some clinical staff that should know better. Rebecca x

Exactly it’s obviously not required urgently so I’m wondering if it’s worth bothering with at all!

Didn’t know about those guidelines.mine has been 8 weeks after surgery but honestly my arm wouldn’t have been flexible enough before that to lay with it above my head.I struggle a bit now.

Hi dizzybee/patricia

I finally managed to get through to the oncologist secretary on Friday she said the oncologist wasn’t in that day but she would ask her on Monday if they can bring my initial planning appmt forward and she would call me back (so she says). Just to make things more complicated I’ve been offered a new job, crap timing I know! I haven’t had the official job offer yet so starting the job is still some time off but want to get rads out of way first. Rebecca

Patricia one more thing the oncologist should be able to tell you the percentage of reoccurrence chance by having rads vs just tamoxifen alone. That’s what I will be asking. Was your Appmt last Friday?

hi Rebecca & Patricia,
I was told that rads offer a further 60% reduction of risk of recurrance so I never considered Not doing it. Sorry you’re both facing frustrations over this & hope it gets sorted soon.
ann x

Hi, great to read all these comments I identify with everyon. I had a 14mm IDC removed and SNB. Margins and nodes were clear and seven weeks later I started 20 rad treatments. It went over five weeks with only one week being the full five days. I was concerned because one week I had only two days. Being December there were lots of public holidays and the urgent patients were having two some days with six hours apart. Because I wasn’t deemed urgent I ended up feeling lucky. I’ve really though that I shouldn’t let ‘lucky’ minimise my experience. I was scared when I found the lump and the three biopsies I needed were painful and traumatic. I finished rads last week and I don’t sleep well most nights. After a very busy day at work yesterday which ended in tears in the toilet I made a decision. This is big! Yes I’m lucky but I have been on a roller coaster since September and I’m physically and emotionally exhausted. I’m a positive person but if one more person tells me to stay positive I may slap them on the nose. This is positive, negative would be hiding under the blankets ignoring the world. So I trust my oncology team, listen to the people who either know what they are talking about (and those that care enough to find out) and listening to my body and mind Xx

Hi Helena, yes I’m looking out on my pool (which I haven’t been able to swim in this season yet) wondering if I could have a quick dip then wash the chlorine off quickly haha. This usually my fav time of year … The plus is I’ve read lots of fiction (I’m a librarian, finished my last assignment for my degree the same week I had my surgery).

Sounds good news Patricia May. I too had Wle and node biopsy early December, idc grade 1, and starting radiotherapy next Monday. Had lots of advice from lovely Helena, and have my E45 and cotton vests ready and waiting.

I had an MRI as after my initial left sided cancer was diagnosed in October they relooked at my original mammogram and decided there were suspicious areas in my right breast. There after followed a catalogue of delays and stresses (some not helped by my decision to have my surgery privately), where three medical professionals all had different opinions as to the results. I was referred to have an MRI guided biopsy, but the radiologist at the hospital where this was to take place reviewed my scans and didn’t think there was any concerns. Anyway, I am to have a repeat MRI in May to recheck my right breast! Well I’ve gone on a bit there, was only going to reassure you that the MRI wasn’t nearly as scary as I had anticipated!
I just feel that I have still have the shadow of this hanging over me still.

Hi Patricia


i now have results from surgery.  Grade 2 with clear lymph nodes and clear margin?  My burn is now starting to heal too?  Funny enough although incision areas healing nicely I feel more tender in the bumpy areas than before, perhaps because I am doing all normal things!  I am having a bone density scan to check Letrosole is ok to take as I have osteopenia.  So just waiting for oncology appointment to talk through/arrange the radiotherapy.  (I was offered chemo too but declined and consultant was happy with my decision).  Pleased to hear your appointment went well and don’t worry about MRI I almost fell asleep during mine lol.  Positive thinking?

Hi Helena, similar to you I did my degree part time. I was a full time trainee for six year so my degree was paid for but I was on a lower wage. After a couple of years of insanity trying to balance everything (work,study,family, sick parent etc) they gave me a day off a week to study and life got better. I did put a lot of stress on myself over that time and wonder if it contributed to my breast cancer. It was worth it though as I am in a job I love and since our government over here would like us to work until we are 70 now I better enjoy it haha. Kimijane congrats on your good post surgery results, such a relief and similar story to mine.

Hi Helena, I too was older. 45 when I applied for the traineeship and I was sure it would go to someone younger. Felt like I had won the lottery when I got it, later it was more a case of be careful what you wish for haha. Finished at 51 and as my husband said you will still be 51 in six years but will have a degree too. The day I graduated I had rads in the morning, then a haircut, lunch and the ceremony and ended up too tired to go out for dinner. Luckily the photos don’t reflect this and I look radiant and happy. Xxx

Port Macquarie which is about 4.5 hrs north of Sydney on the coast. Yep I tried to quit about half way when i was eligible for the diploma. Took my boss out for coffee and told him I couldn’t handle the pressure any more and he really didn’t want me to quit so arranged for me to talk with HR and I ended up getting a study day once a week. We have a new trainer starting at the end of the month who is around the same age and hasn’t worked in a library before either so will be interesting to see how she goes. Yeah mum, my husband and two adult kids were with me for grad and when I saw my mum we both had a little cry. She has had lung and bladder cancer and seeing me sick has really affected her. She had a little stroke and didn’t tell anyone (including her doc) for two weeks because she was concentrating on me.