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Posted by Ten_minutes on Jan 7, 2020 5:24 pm

Just wanting to know if everyone waits super long for radiation? I had my surgery September 16, started tamoxifen in December and now I was called and told radiation treatment will start February 3. Seems so long. I wasn’t offered chemo.

Re: Radiation

Posted by Ten_minutes on Jan 7, 2020 5:26 pm

Just freaking out because I had positive margins after the mastectomies And that is a lot of time for my breast cancer to grow.
just sitting here crying 

Re: Radiation

Posted by Runner Girl on Jan 7, 2020 5:34 pm

Hi Ten_minutes‍ ,

Question, when you received your pathology did they give you your Grade?  The grade is the ranking of the aggressiveness of your cancer.  My breast cancer, for example was Grade 3, which is aggressive.  I am ER+ and HER2+.  My treatment, chemo and radiation, happened quite quickly because of my grade.  

My margins after lumpectomy were not to the liking of my radiation doctor.  He sent me back to the surgeon to see if he could revise the margins, he could not, I'm too skinny.  So I received 5 days of what they call boost radiation directed at the tumor bed.

Take a deep breath, you're going to be ok.  Check your report for your Grade and let's discuss further.

I'm going to ask ashcon‍ and Kims1961‍ to comment as well.

Runner Girl
Never stop believing in HOPE because MIRACLES happen every day!

Re: Radiation

Posted by Kims1961 on Jan 7, 2020 6:24 pm

Hello! and thx for the tag Runner Girl‍ 

Like you i had positive margins after bilateral mastectomy. i did chemo and then radiation. i am ER* and HER2+.   I had  surgery in Oct, 17 chemo started in Dec and radiation the following June 18. 

The waiting and time frames can feel long.  How has your healing from surgery gone? You should be able to contact your oncologist and ask about the time frames. Express your concerns .  It may be a good sign that there is the time in between.

Im glad you posted. Please let us know how it goes. Kim    

Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Radiation

Posted by ashcon on Jan 7, 2020 6:36 pm

Hi Ten_minutes

Lets not forget that you've been on Tamoxifen since your surgery which (from what I understand) can be used to treat breast cancer as well as prevent it. 
Maybe, as indicated by the other's comments, your type and grade of breast cancer merits this treatment regime  versus a more aggressive one. 

Definitely worth contacting your doctor(s) and asking, especially the radiation oncologist. 

Question - did you meet with a medical oncologist? I'm assuming you did, if you were put on Tamoxifen. 
Perhaps you could ask that doctor as well about the timelines and strategy for your particular course of treatment. 

Thinking of you... Let us know what you find out  I'm sure it will be helpful for others who may be in a same or similar situation. 
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: Radiation

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on Jan 7, 2020 6:40 pm


I felt much the same way as you do, regarding waiting for the next step or treatment to start. One thing to keep in mind, the purpose of the surgery is to remove the cancerous tumours and the surrounding tissue to the best of their ability.  I found this blurb on breastcancer.org that explains better than I:
"Radiation therapy may be recommended after mastectomy to destroy any breast calls that may remain at the mastectomy site. During breast removal, it's difficult to take out every cell of breast tissue, especially the tissue behind the skin in front of the breast or back along the muscle behind the breast. Usually any leftover breast cells are normal. But because it's possible for some breast cancer cells to linger, there is a risk of recurrence in the area where the breast was. Based on your pathology report, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy if you’ve had a mastectomy."

Timing for treatment is based on so many variables - oncologist time, treatment room time, type of cancer, clinic capacity etc.  The interesting thing I found ( because I did it myself )  is if they get you in right away we assume it must be really bad that they can't wait and if they wait we worry that the cancer is growing/spreading. One thing you may want to do is contact the centre where you will be having the radiation or the rad onc and let them know you would be happy to be put on a cancellation list. Perhaps they may even be able to tell you how they arrived at the date you were given.
I know it is difficult to wait.  I hope you can find some things that you enjoy that may provide some form of distraction for you in the meantime.

Take care

Re: Radiation

Posted by Ten_minutes on Jan 7, 2020 7:59 pm

I checked my pathology report.
The invasive ductal carcinoma is grade 1 (5/9 is the cut off, if I got 6/9 it would have been grade 2)
The DCIS was found to be extensive and grade 2
Surgical margins:
- positive for both DCIS and invasive carcinoma. Invasive carcinoma extends to the superior margin over 3 mm area; greater than 5 mm from all other margins
- DCIS extends to the superior margin; greater than 5 mm from all other margins.

So I guess I am sorta more of a 2 if you combine all the info.


Re: Radiation

Posted by Runner Girl on Jan 7, 2020 8:33 pm

Ten_minutes‍ ,

So you're a Grade 2 and you've been on tamoxifen for a while which will inhibit the cancer.  I don't think you need to panic.  How is your healing?  They can't do radiation until you're fully healed.  

There is a window of time to do radiation.  I'm certain your doctors have that in mind with scheduling you in February.   They are good at what they do.  

Runner Girl
Never stop believing in HOPE because MIRACLES happen every day!

Re: Radiation

Posted by LPPK on Jan 7, 2020 8:56 pm

Hello Ten_minutes‍  everyone is given their own treatment schedule that is decided on from a large number of factors and so it is hard to compare our individual experiences.  One thing that is common for us all is the hatred of the waiting times.  Not all people require chemo.  I also had IDC, was put on Tamoxifen two and a half months after my lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy and then started radiation two weeks after I started Tamoxifen..
The unknown is so frustrating.  I agree with Lianne_adminCCS‍ in her suggestions to all the cancer clinic.

Re: Radiation

Posted by Simi on Jan 8, 2020 11:20 am

Hi I’m in Alberta I was diagnosed may 2019, had lumpectomy in June , found out I don’t need chemo at the end of August and I  started radiation at the end of October but my tumor was grade two , clear margins so they didn’t give much priority to my case but was stressful waiting !