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Long term effects of radiotherapy

9 REPLIES 9
Member

Re: Long term effects of radiotherapy

Sadly I have seen the consulting radiologist today who assured me I would definitely have lung damage from the radiotherapy 1cm minimum from top to bottom of lung.  Needs to say I am not happy as I've already got damaged lungs.

 

I said no to chemo because of this risk and now am having to consider saying no to my only other treatment option.  feeling very upset.

Member

Re: Long term effects of radiotherapy

Hi Leonie

 

Yes I am waiting to see the radiologist to discuss pros and cons and I must read up on the literature too.

 

Regarding my friend you definitely can see she has one breast much smaller than the other, but even in her senior years she tends to wear clinging t shirt tops Smiley Very Happy and also she really doesn't care that one is noticeably smaller.  The hospital offered her a reduction in the healthy breast to match it but she refused that, I would too I think.

 

That's not to say everyone will have a noticeable difference in size of course.

 

Love to all the brave ladies Smiley HappyHeart

Member

Re: Long term effects of radiotherapy

Hi Astra,

 

Try not to assume the worst is going to happen. Many women have no side effects to radiotherapy. I was hugely reassured once I spoke to my consultant in charge of radiotherapy. It helped it was a lady. Ask any questions you have to help alleviate the fear and stress.

 

We have to accept that we are never going to look exactly the same as before our ops but we are lucky we only needed lumpectomies. No one but you will see any difference in the size of your boobs as in clothes you won't be able to tell. I bet until she told you you didn't notice any difference in your friend's?

 

I think mine may be permanently tender because I can't stop cradling them and checking everything is 'ok'.......Just glad they are still there! 😊

Member

Re: Long term effects of radiotherapy

I have a friend who had 5 days a week for  4 weeks about 8 years ago, she found her breast did reduce in size, so she has one noticeable smaller than the other.  I've found that after lumpectomy and not had radiotherapy yet.

 

Also she found she didn't get tired until the end of treatment and that was travelling 1 hour 30 mins each way for each session, she is in her early 70s now.  She has said the breast is still tender to this day.  Have to say my breast is still tender from the surgery coming up 4 weeks ago, I guess its early day yet for me.

 

I am also interested in the risk to lungs as I already have lung damage, I'm not sure what the potential percentage is of getting lung problems after treatment, or down the line.

Member

Re: Long term effects of radiotherapy

Thanks for posting that. It is very reasuring. That' s the one problem with these forums. Yes they offer huge support in times of need and going through treatment but that means ladies on here are all going through the same scary experience and fears.

 

The ladies who have got through the treatments and been able to get on with their lives don't tend to come on these forums. Yet these statistically are the majority. 

 

It's too easy when you are scared and worried to forget about the majority positive outcomes and instead think only about the negative ones especially when info is so readily available on the internet.. Waiting so long for radiotherapy doesn't help....the gremlins can take over and undermine positivity.

 

But we should be positive. It's amazing what they can do these days compared  to the past and things are getting better all the time. Hence more and more women are surviving breast cancer and leading long and healthy lives afterwards........boosting those positive statistics even more!

 

Look at Kylie Minogue. It's hard to remember she has been through this years ago as she is fifty and amazing! So is that 70 year old lady in the gym Smiley Happy

Member

Re: Long term effects of radiotherapy

Hi, I was very very worried about long term side effects especially having radiotherapy for Dcis both sides. It now 5 days after and I feel I have my energy back. My skin is still a bit sensitive but is getting better by the day. My throat feels a bit funny but I suppose I was blasted from 2 sides so not unexpected.

 

The important part is that I have chatting to a lady in my gym for a while now, who was 70 last week. She still is very active, goes to the gym and had a lumpectomy after chemo 22 years ago on the left hand side. She is very petite and has very small boobs and refused a mastectomy when she was 47. The reason for the mastectomy was that she couldn’t have the lumpectomy as the lump was too big so she had chemo then lumpectomy then either 5 or 6 weeks radiotherapy on left hand side. Plus 5 years tamoxifen. Now radiotherapy 22 years ago was 50 gray from what I remember. Normally it is now 40 gray unless you need a boost. So much less radiation.

 

She has had no side effects other than a slight hardening of the breast. This lady might be an exception but very reassuring none the less. 

Member

Re: Long term effects of radiotherapy

Thanks Brumrunner, that is a huge help. I'll have a look at those links.

 

Hope we both do well in our recovery Smiley Happy

Member

Re: Long term effects of radiotherapy

Hi

I posted this same question a few days ago!  (can you find my other posts I wonder?)

To cut to the chase, I have hauled in a few contacts (I'm a Dr), and it seems the 'view' now is that radioRx is felt to have minimal side effects, that, really, there is no point risking the major surgery of mastectomy.  this has immensely reassured me, and I think I am now much happier proceeding down this route: but, obviously, it is so personal (I keep staring at my boobs in the mirror wondering if I could stomach a mastectomy....).

You might find these articles helpful: https://www.cancernetwork.com/oncology-journal/decision-making-surgical-management-invasive-breast-c... (this is quite medical and detailed, so perhaps consider if you want to read this??). This link is a decision making tool (tbh it didn't tell me anything new, but it is useful as a starting point at least): https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Option-Grid-decision-aid-Breast-cancer-surgery_fig1_310666496 

Community Champion

Re: Long term effects of radiotherapy

Hi Leonie,

Probably not much help with your question, but I had rads following wle 3 years ago & haven’t had any long term side effects that I am aware of. After the initial redness & some soreness, my boob looked & felt pretty much as it usually did a few weeks after treatment was completed. 

ann x

Member

Long term effects of radiotherapy

Hi Ladies,

 

Looking for some feedback from ladies who received rads who have had side effects years later e.g. Fibrosis, change in skin texture or hardening or shrinking of breast. BCN nurse assures me rad's these days not as harmful as in past and breathing techniques protect heart......But what about lungs?

 

Trying to decide between having rad's after WLE or mastectomy as concerns about both.

 

Any insight would be appreciated.