Your experience with radiation

Hi All. I am new here. I would like to hear from you on your decision to accept/decline radiation therapy. Mom will turn 90 this year. She had 2-3 cancerous tumors stage 1 removed about 4 weeks ago. The largest was 1.8 millimeters. Doctor said she would not need radiation if lymph nodes are not affected, which is the case. He also said if radiation were needed it would be 3X/week for 3 minutes for 2 weeks. Yet they are now insisting on radiation 5x per week for five minutes and for 5 weeks. We are concerned the side effects will be too much for her. She is still grieving dad who passed December 2020. We think the benefits would not outweigh the side effects for mom. What is your experience? 


I can understand your concern. I was heavily node positive and (in the UK) had 5 daily sessions for 3 weeks, with minimal side effects apart from tiredness and, 2 years on, still a sore breast muscle (what was left of it after my mastectomy). But I was 68 and physically fit.

I would ask for a second opinion. You have almost 2 extremes of recommendation. My oncologist told me he believed radiotherapy was the most effective of all the treatments. I imagine that makes it worth considering but you have to measure the benefits against the strains of radiotherapy (how flexible is your mother?  Is she frail? How does each hospital visit affects her emotionally? Could she face daily visits with equanimity? Most important - what does she want herself?). All these and more will influence your mother’s decision (unless you have power of attorney regarding her health).

I wish her all the best for her recovery. Xx

Gosh that’s a really hard decision at your Mums age and having just gone through the stress of losing your Dad .
When I had my op radiotherapy to the breast was standard procedure even if node negative . I was told it reduced the risk of re- occurrence by 30% which is a pretty powerful recommendation if you feel you can cope with the treatment as it could stop you having to go through cancer again . 
I found radiotherapy tiring , monotonous and a bit emotional - having to go there every day and being reminded you have / had cancer is not easy ,but you soon get into a routine . You are not there for very long at all ,maybe 10 minutes in the actual treatment room and once you have managed the first few sessions it’s not so daunting .

I managed to get friends / partner to come with me and had lunch or did something nice on the way home . The tiredness hits about week 2 but it passes quite quickly after you finish treatment .

if your Mum tried it and found it was too much she could stop at any time and there would be no real implications as far as Im aware .

All the best . Jill x