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Radiation Stage 2 Experiences
KJP
11 Posts

Hi All

Just trying to anticipate my next steps on my journey (and plan my summer!). Quick recap stage 2B (micromets in sentinel node) ER/PR+ HER2- grade 2, had right total mastectomy/ removed 1 sentinel lymph only. Getting closer to the end of my chemo journey (dose dense AC-T) and still havent seen radiation oncologist (annoying, but Ive been told they deal with that after I finish chemo).

I know from my own research that likely radiation does make sense (didnt have full axillary node removal and had the micromets in the 1). But….I'm seeing mixed things online on how long. Anyone been in similar situation and did radiation - how many weeks were you doing it, and how long after chemo did you start, daily or twice a day?

Thanks everyone!

4 Replies
Beachalog
44 Posts

@KJP I am stage 2 as well. Met both medical and radiation oncologist in early April, and was waiting for my oncotype to come back to find out what would happen next. Oncotype was 11, so no chemo.

I am getting 20 rads though, and I think four of them will be on my armpit as a “just in case” measure. It was up for debate, but now that chemo is off the table, I want to do everything I can to prevent recurrence.

I am going for my planning CT and tattoos tomorrow, so I will know when I will start then. They did tell me that IF I had to have chemo, they would wait a month after that for me to recover, and then start rads.

According to all the brochures I got, the actual radiation treatments take 10 to 20 minutes, and most of that is getting you positioned correctly.

Mosi
90 Posts

KJP‍ and @Beachalog Hi. I just finished 24 rounds of radiation on April 14th. I had been scheduled for 21 but the cancer was slow respond so they added 3 more on a more precise linac machine. I was tired and the constant moisturizing was somewhat limiting in terms of being out all day. Other than that the real impact on my skin did not happen until a week later. I was also on Capecitabine which intensified the radiation. I was given a schedule on my first day for 3 weeks of appointments including weekly appointments with the radiation oncologist. Monday through Friday I had a 30 minute appointment each day and the times varied from 8am to 5pm. Each day I needed to confirm the next day’s appointment and a few times they had changed
my time. Tough to schedule a life around.
A week before my first appointment we had a simulation where they set up the parameters of my radiation area and gave me tiny little blue tattoos. Because my surgery was so recent I still had difficulty raising my arms completely above my head with elbows out flat. They had special moulding for my comfort.
I was still on chemo so I followed the rule of enough water to make me pee every 2 hours. This became my moisturizer schedule as well.
The actual radiation is 5/10 minutes but the set up and daily scans take a little longer.

supersu
1102 Posts

@KJP

good morning.

just a quick note to share my Alberta radiation experience.
that part of my cancer story took place in JUN/JUL 2020.

I had 16 sessions, but unlike you I wasn't offered any chemo. my cancer was also deemed to be early stage, no nodes involved. I did have to be healed from my 2 surgeries. this is my experience.

1 appointment to ‘plan’.
-couple of very small tattoos were applied to my torso, (honestly was expecting something more flamboyant….but alas, they just look like freckles now)
-will practice the breath hold required to keep the heart of the field of view…..don't stress out about that one…I have asthma so was quite anxious that I wouldn't be ‘able’ to do it, but it was very comfortable.
-was asked when I would prefer to attend. I was off of work, so I took the later appointments and was told that they were the least sought after. it worked out great.
the place was empty by the time I got there each day at 5:00, and never did I experience a wait or delay.

16 X therapy
-I arrived at the cancer centre for my pre-determined appointment
-I was checked in at admitting, and had to go thru the COVID screen line process
-made my own way to the basement where the radiation happens; if you need assistance just ask for a porter
-help myself to a gown, undress from waist up, and then wait for the techs to get me
-each time I was asked how I was feeling, any problems, etc etc
-brought into the treatment room
-helped onto the stretcher, where the tech's used my fancy new tattoo's to position me
-at this point, you are also given an emergency button to hold onto…you are in control here
-the techs leave the room, and the shutting of the what I assume is a lead door is the weirdest sensation…not sure why, but it sounds like a vault is closing! #whump
-the machines then whirl around you a few times, you are given breath hold instructions thru the speaker system
-nothing uncomfortable, no sensations, zippo!!! it's all over within a few minutes.
PRO TIP- the lights above the bed were like lasers….ha ha ha
after the first day, I asked the tech to turn them down, and poof, going forward they almost always did it for me.
also - ask for any kind of music that helps you to relax. I had a lovely group, and they always played great music for me, but if you want something in particular – just ask.

it was an easy process, and as many others here have mentioned, the challenging part of it all, took place a few weeks after I finished up.

I am happy to share any part of my story. good luck with it all.

cheers
su

#breastcancer #radiationtherapy

Hello, I have had to go through chemo and radiation, yes the radiation starts not long after chemo, at least that is what I experienced, I found it easier to handle then Chemo. But everybody is different.

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