Please don't be worried about rads. I know some ladies have a few side effects but most don't and if they do they're mild and temporary. I had a bit of soreness and a bit of skin breakdown on ANC scar but applied cream religiously and it soon resolved. It's true you can get tired and I still feel the effects of this after 3 weeks plus since I finished but I feel better every day and am back doing all the things I did before. Best of luck to you and let us know how you are doing. xx Lily
hiyer, honestly, don't get too worried......most people are totally fine and the side effects that do exist are mostly quite minor and temporary. I was terrified when the oncologist talked about possible side effects like lung function and bone brittleness and the like. Well, if they've happened, I've certainly not noticed lol I had temporary skin effects, which slowly resolved, but the actual process really wasn't that hard and to be frank it was quite enjoyable seeing the lovely team, having a laugh and chatting every day. The minor problems really are a small price for the security it can give you. X
youll be fine I'm sure. The vast majority seem to have little side effects - I think I have just been unlucky. And despite how I'm feeling now, only half way through 😱 I would do it all again without hesitation. (I know we can't have it twice in the same area but you know what I mean!)
It's a small price to pay to zap any random cancer cells and put this bugger to bed.
You'll get tons of support and advice on here - no one knows how you feel like all of us on here!!
go for it!!
I' m glad your experience has been good care wise, but I know of many others who have not been so fortunate. Missed appointments, up to 20 different radiographers, machine break downs etc. It's not the fault of the team just funding issues, as always with the NHS? I hope your skin recovers now. Take Care x
Apologies but I have to disagree. My unit is new, has four machines each manned by two radiographers and a student. All taking the time to answer any questions, have a good look at my skin and scars, and couldn't be any more kind or patient. Generally the ladies do the breast ladies and they have a chap that looks like an older member of Oasis that does all the prostrate chaps.
The unit really couldn't be any better but yet I'm still suffering and am in a great deal of pain from my rads. I cannot fault the care I've had so far, nor the staff.
I truely think that the only lottery in all of this is us, our skin and how it reacts.
Sorry again but I had to comment.
Hope you're ok and recovering well
I have just finished 25 radiotherapy sessions. I was very lucky as I only ever saw the same 2/3 radiographers each time. My skin is now very pink and a bit sore under the arm, but apart from feeling very tired at times, I have had a very easy time of it. It really depends where you are treated I think and how well staffed, modern, well managed etc the department is. Unfortunately we now live in a post code lottery and private v nhs. Sad times x
And me too with the DCIS, I'm sensing a trend here...! On the one hand they tell you how lucky you are that it is only in situ, but on the other hand you need a large amount removed or else a mastectomy, another operation to clear the margins, then radiotherapy and five years of hormone therapy. I found it was really hard to understand how it was such a "good " diagnosis, but they still seemed to be treating it as if it were invasive.
But I read that you're far more likely to need a mastectomy with DCIS than a smaller early stage invasive cancer. With both my WLE and the re excision I knew there was a strong chance I'd still end up having to have a mastectomy in the end. Anyway, I'm glad I managed to hang on to what's left of it, even though there'll be another operation down the track since they're very uneven in size now.
Eli, I am really not happy lying on that table and I don't have your experiences. We aren't quite strapped down but it can feel pretty close to it. You are entitled to ask them to make adjustments to their staffing so there are no men in the room. I don't want to get controversial, but there are women from different cultures where they must have to do that all the time, and you should be entitled to the same consideration.
So far I've only come across women doing the radiography, but it is going to be uncomfortable for me if there is a man there to see my scars.
Hi Helen. Second one today seemed to take slightly longer as they seemed to have to recheck some measurements.the only thing with that is the pain I go in my right shoulder and arm as I can't keep my arms up high in the armrests for too long. That's following a shoulder replacement. Anyway it was ok. Two guys that I hadn't met before and a young girl from yesterday did it today. All nice though. I got my diprobase from the doctor. Didn't feel anything today so maybe that ripple feeling was a one off. Evening one tomorrow.
Its strang cos although I'm tired as not sleeping too well, today I've been busy catching up. Maybe the rads gave me some super powers lol. Won't last long!!! Hope you get your creams sorted. X
Sorry Helen, senior moment. Just re read and saw you start on the 27th. Not long now then. What time is it that day?
Hi Helen, would be funny if we were only around the corner from each other. I'm in kings Lynn. They suggested E45 but my doc gave me diprobase but I'm sure the udder milk cream would be good too as I've used the cream before. I also have the pure aloe Vera gel too. No freebies from them of creams so must be cutbacks! The girls were lovely although I prob won't see the same team each time. Let me know when you start Helen. Xx
Hi Helen, yes I'm at adenbrooks, Cambs. You too???? Will post how it goes tomorrow. Nighty night for now xx
Hi Jane, you're doing so well. Not long now eh! Hang in there girl! X
Hello Helen and thanks so much for posting. You've been through so much already it's absolutely your prerogative to ask about female-only radiographers. I'm very pleased to hear you're going to ask! It's not easy but you have absolutely nothing to lose and I am sure they will be sympathetic. Well done and GOOD LUCK and let me know how you get on. Massive hugs. Robin x
I like those words you quoted from your plaque Helen. We all here for each other despite not having met. Thank you to everyone who has written on the forum. The advice, support and friendship is invaluable.
Jane, I can understand about the mood swings. I wonder too if the anastrazole contributes to it. I've been like a roller coaster lately. Can't seem to help it, and not started rads yet!! Sending a hug. Hope you get on ok this week. Xx
Absolutely, Robin. so glad to hear that you've addressed it with the hospital & that they have responded positively.
Thank you, Clair, yes, I'm going out in the evening with a very old friend and fellow breast cancer survivor!
Very best wishes to you for your treatment, hopefully it will be an easy ride for you, as it seems to be for most people here. Lots of love, Robin
Thanks Ann. I think there are plenty of people on this forum who feel as you do, but I wanted to redress the balance by reassuring those who are not OK with it that this is nothing to feel bad about, that they are NOT unusual or odd in finding it stressful. I'm not sure if those women will see this thread but I hope so.
I have certainly given my feedback to the hospital and as they are revising their literature they have asked if they can run it by me for feedback. So they are very interested and open to comment.
Ann I was fascinated by it all too, call me mad but I looked forward to going each day and was quite sad to finish! My niece came with me most days and we had a hot chocolate and a cookie in the M&S cafe as a treat each day ☕️🍪I pretty much saw the same few every day and made some great friends in the waiting room who I've met up with since, just very grateful to have had the treatment and 18 months on I'm happy, healthy and getting on with life! Xx
Thanks for posting, I must admit I was one of those who wasn't bothered at all by the treatment process, in fact, I found it interesting & oddly, quite enjoyed it, it never occurred to me that others felt differently.
I did, pretty much, have the same team throughout my treatment, so I did get to know them.
What is important, as you so rightly highlight, is to speak up if not feeling comfortable or happy about things, if you haven't already, it may be worth giving your feedback to the hospital, it could make a difference to others.
Hello everyone, I've only one more RT session to go on Monday and then I'm done. It's been such a rollercoaster and I wanted to share a couple of things I've learned, especially for anyone who's about start treatment or just started. There are some things no-one spells out from the start, and I wish they had done, because I would have been better prepared.
First of all, it's likely you will NOT be seeing the same radiographers every day. I have seen over 25 different people in the last three weeks (I stopped counting). This had a big effect on me - being looked at and touched by strangers every day was stressful and I gradually found myself unable to sleep for thinking about it, then feeling anxious all day, irritable and tearful for (what I thought was) no reason. I told myself it was stupid, that I had to be grown up, not be difficult, be grateful, "they see boobs all day long it's nothing to them", etc etc. But it didn't change the way I felt. I felt degraded, a victim - everything I've fought against since this whole cancer episode began. I was grinding my teeth at night, chewing my fingers during the day. It got to the point where I actually started wishing I'd had a double mastectomy rather than a lumpectomy, as then they wouldn't be able to stare at my breasts because I wouldn't have any.
A senior radiographer told me that 25 years ago the same team would work on each machine, and you'd see the same people for your whole treatment, so they got to know you, and you them. That's just not possible any more.
Secondly, you have the right to ask not to be seen by male radiographers, or students, if you wish. This is not unreasonable, and they will do this (discreetly and kindly) if you ask. I didn't ask this until I was nearly at the end of my treatment, because I wasn't aware it was am option, plus I didn't want to make a fuss - telling myself plenty of women have been through more than this, why can't I just cope with it like a grownup, etc.
I honestly wish I'd been told these two things - the information I was given was all about what cream to use, how to stay hydrated, be prepared for feeling fatigued... nothing about the possible psychological trauma or how to manage it.
This forum has been wonderful for me to keep me going, and I've been amazed at the resiliance and courage when I've read what people have been through. I know that many women do not worry about being treated by men or students, or by lying half naked in front of strangers, but for some of us it's extraordinarily and unexpectedly difficult. The anxiety and anger can build up if you don't say something. I honestly thought I'd sail through this. We just don't know how things are going to affect us I guess.
I had my review meeting on Friday and brought all this up, and they were worried I'd now need counseling, which isn't something I've ever needed or considered. However, if I ever have to go through this again, I now know what to do - have a session of hypnotherapy prior to treatment to manage my anxiety (I've had it before for performance nerves, nail biting etc and it always works like magic for me), and request female radiographers only.
I know I can't be the only one who's felt this way, and I hope I'm helping by saying this and not scaring anyone - I don't want to do that, but I do want to say that if you are feeling anxious, tearful, stressed about the position you're in during treatment, do say something - I phoned the hospital because I couldn't say anything to the radiographers themselves during treatment, I felt too passive and vulnerable. It was only by talking it through that I realised it was more bearable for me if there were no men in the room.
If this post helps even one woman then it will be worth it - to everyone going into radiotherapy, you have my very best wishes for a smooth sailing, and let's hope for all of us it won't need repeating.