Waiting for radiotherapy

Hello first time on here . My main concern is work. I’m a care assistant doing home help all day. I’m due to go back to work early October but I haven’t had my radiotherapy yet. Due to see oncologist 1st October. I had surgery two weeks ago . I’m on the recommended 4 weeks sick leave. When I had my results appointment they said may be not to go back to work until after rad treatment. I’m so confused! Anyone 50 and working full time.? Feel guilty as I feel physically ok but mentally struggling .

Don’t feel guilty, Honeymoonop, cancer is such a difficult disease to deal with and each person reacts differently. Can you postpone your decision about work until you’ve had your radiotherapy planning session, and have been able to discuss your programme and likely side effects with the clinical oncologist?


You don’t say what your treatment plan is. Presumably you’re not having chemo as you’re about to start rads, so at least that’s that problem out of the way.


Rads won’t start untll your wound(s) have healed. Have you had to have any lymph nodes removed?


If you are getting the usual programme for rads, it’s likely to be 15 sessions on 15 consecutive weekdays (no weekends), each session lasting about 10 to 15 minutes. (Don’t take that as gospel - programmes can vary according to the patient’s pathology.)


Most people find having to go into the hospital radiology department every day for 15 weekdays is in itself very tiring. Then there is the effect of the radiotherapy itself; the effects can continue for two to three weeks after the treatments have finished. Then there is also the emotional effect.


Different people cope differently, but don’t overestimate what you can deal with. If your employer is sympathetic and is ready to give you plenty of time off, I would make the most of it. Have a chat with your Breat Care Nurse before committing yourself to any strict timetable, and talk to your GP.


All the best. You’ll find, once you are into the treatment programme, it passes faster than you initially expect.

Appletree thank you for replying . I had lumpectomy and yes your right no chemo as all lump removed successfully and my lymph nodes are clear. So wow. I’m so grateful . Like you said i think i will go to oncologist first. Yes I’m having 3 weeks 15 sessions of rads bcnurse said. It’s a mind field of how I’m going to feel. I don’t want to say I’m fit for work then find I’m tired or let them down at short notice.
Once again thanks for reply

Hi honeymoonpop. I am 63 and have worked full time all the way through. Fortunately I have been able to work from home and work has been my way of coping and has been good for me. Everybody is different in so many ways. I was same as you Wle snb no node involvement. Surgery 20 rads of which 5 were boosters. Working brought rads is doable but yes you can feel tired. The se,s from rads I found kicked in 3 weeks or so after I had finished. Bit of skin breakdown. Have a chat with your employer see what they say. Maybe flexible hours could be offered to you. But unfortunately until you start your rads you won’t know how it is going to affect you. Don’t feel guilty as it is your body and you do have to listen to it. I have been absolutely fine from day 1 until 10/14 days after rads finished where you have got of that rollercoaster. With me the emotions hit, every emotion you can think about. Take a look at the first few weeks after rads thread. There is a few of us in there and you will see everything in there from being sad, happy , funny at times as we do all have a sense of humour but we have all been through the same journey. I am now 16 weeks post rads and just about there. Not quite but almost. Hope all goes well and hope rads are kind to you.

Hi Gill3105 it’s true it’s a rollercoaster of emotions . It’s a waiting game and will wait till I talk to oncologist and bcn. I might go back part time . I do nights as well so less work in day . Scared to go back and then let them down . Thanks for reply . All the best to you

Most not all but most rad patients seem to have the worst side effects at the end of or after their treatment so many people find it possible to work during their rads depending on how long it takes to get to and fro to the place of treatment. The actual treatment takes may be only half an hour including undressing and dressing

Hello Honeymoonop


I am surprised you have managed to get an appointment so soon after your op to discuss radiotheraphy sessions . I had surgery 8 weeks ago and my appointment is in 2 weeks time and I understand at some point after the 15/10 will the sessions begin.


I went back to work today having beeen off sick following my op for 8 weeks and I struggled mentally .  I am 49 years old . I really found today quite daunting , strange being there . I was also exhausted as I had to drive to work which is an hour away from where I live and go into work just for 3 hours and then drive back home. 


My employers want me to work part-time hours until my radiotheraphy commences in a few weeks time however my employers are reluctant having to sign me off work for another 3 weeks whilst I have radiotheraphy 


They have mentioned that they may be able to offer me flexible working arrangements from home even if its for a few hours however my concern is I wont know how I will feel whilst going through the treatment daily . I do not now what my energy levels are going to be like throughout.  


It will take me at least an hour to get to the hospital for treatment as my local hospital is unable to provide this and again I am reluntant to drive there in case i suffer from fatigue etc 


Other alternatives would be to find someone to drive me there daily 5 days a week x 3 weeks or ask the hospital to provide transport for me however I understand with hospital transport , they pick other passengers up on route so an hour journey may take up to 2 hours for arrival  plus I need to factor in the waiting time in hospital and what time the return journey home will be 


I am wondering whether it is best just to get my GP to sign me off for 3 weeks or attempt to work at some hours daily ? 


I would say that you are better off speaking to your GP/ breast care nurse for guidance on what is good for you .


Occupational Health have scheduled a telephone interview with me next monday to go through Rads process so I will be interested to hear there view and what they propose would be in my best interests


Hope all goes well with you and you are making good progress healing