Worried about radiotherapy

Hi. have to go see radiologist on tuesday for first time and then start my therapy around the 26th oct.
I am so stressed about the thought of the radiotherapy, I have been told that there will be damage to my lung, it is going to be unavoidable.
I know it is the sensible thing to have it but I have lots of doubts about it. Friends say it will be over soon, but I am so stressed thinking about it.
Has anyone got any wise words to help me through this? I know thousands of people go through this every year but when you are the one you feel very lonley.

Hi mell

I’m sorry to read that you are having a pretty tough time at the moment. I’m sure the users of this site will be along to support you soon.

In the meantime you may find it useful to have a look at the BCC publication on radiotherapy, it looks at what radiotherapy is, when it is given for primary breast cancer and its possible side effects. If you would like to order a copy or read this on line just use this link:-


Also if you would like to talk things through do give the helpline a call on 0808 800 6000. The staff there are able to offer emotional support as well as practical information. The lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 2.00.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

Hi Mell,
Sorry you are so worried about radiotherapy. I am nearly finished, have had 14 of 19 sessions and can honestly say it has not been a problem so far. I have used the aqueous cream 3 or 4 times a day and have no soreness as yet, only thing I have noticed is the boob being zapped is sligthly darker in colour now. I am usually in and out n less than 10 mins and the process isn’t scarey at all and you feel absolutely nothing xx
really hope all goes well for you

Hi Mell The radiologists will ensure that they keep any damage to your lung to an absolute minimum. They take great pains to make sure we are lined up properly before each zapping, and will have done their calculations to work out the best angles to make sure your cancer is treated and other areas zapped as little as possible.

It may help you to talk about your concerns with your radio therapy team. I’m sure they will be very supportive and may even put your mind at rest. Alternatively, give you BCN (Breast Cancer Nurse) a ring. They are wonderful!

There are several "starting radiotherapy in… " threads on here (I was on the April and May ones) on which you will find loads on helpful advice.

It seems like a life sentence when you start off, but because you are going every day, it very soon passes. Much easier to endure than the ‘waiting room’ parts of the whole BC process. Good Luck.

Hi mell
I have just come back from my very first session of Radiotherapy. Not sure what you have been through prior to your Radiotherapy.
I had a WLE (result -Grade 2, ER+,HER-, 18mm) and SNB (result -no node involvement) on 28/8/12. I had a CT scan last week then today have had a ‘dry run’ and when they were happy everything and I was lined up correctly I had my first session.
As JCJ said they are trying everything possible to reduce the risk of damage to the lung to a minimum and in my unit, they take a lot of time getting the measurements correct to ensure this is the case.
I got some cream to use to keep skin moisturised.
As far as while the Radiotherapy was taking place, I felt nothing at all which is how I was told it should be. So for me its one down 14 to go!
Its hard not to get agitated about the unknown and hope that other people’s thoughts and experience help you to feel a little calmer, if not speak to the radiographers and let them know how you feel about it.
My thoughts are to do as much as I can to make sure I give myself the best chance of a long life in the land of NED.
If there is anything particular I can help with then please let me know, otherwise the radiography team are probably the best people to talk to about you worries.
Hope you settle your mind soon

Hi Mell

As the others have said, the radiographers are very careful to get everything lined up accurately. Whilst it is possible to get some lung damage I don’t think anyone can say you ‘will’ - is there a reason why you’ve been told it’s unavoidable? I got through it all without any problems.

It’s totally painless and very quick - though I did feel quite frightened on the first zapping. I was advised to drink plenty, use E45 cream daily and not to wear a bra, just wear loose-fitting cotton tops to avoid your skin being irritated and keep covered up from the Sun - though I really doubt that’s going to be a problem in this country at the moment! It all certainly worked for me whereas a friend who wasn’t given the same advice ended up with sore skin.

You’ll be through it and out the other end before you know. Don’t feel lonely - you’re not on your own. We’re all out here to support you. Best of luck, will be thinking about you.

May I just clarify - when I said drink plenty, I meant water!

100% aloe Vera gel will ensure you do not get radiation burns, aqueous cream in rubbish!

100% aloe Vera gel will ensure you do not get radiation burns, aqueous cream in rubbish!

I am sure like everyone else before radiotherapy starts, I feel ok regards pain goes now, I feel almost back to normal {whatever that is} I feel that I will have to start healing all over again once the therapy starts. The onc wants to know if I want to take part in the fast forward trail. This can be 3 weeks therapy or 1. The one week is double the daily dose you would get per day over three weeks. I just think the skin damage would be too much with that, so I am leaning towards the standard dose. You seem to have coped with it so I hope I can. Thanks everyone.
Has anyone had the 1 week dose on the fast forward trail?