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Radiation?

Radiation?

Posted by Kayak1 on Feb 11, 2020 9:44 am

October 1st l had a mastectomy and axillary node dissection. Two out of 11 nodes had cancer. My tumor was very small and all margins clear. I am HER2 neg and HR positive. I have just finished 4 rounds of chemo and now have to decide on radiation. Everything l have read says people my age 70 with less then 3 nodes involved fall in a grey area. They find that radiation is not necessary. I worry about lymphedema and pain in my arm if l receive radiation. Unfortunately my surgery was on my dominant side. Has anyone had the same problem wondering what to do? 

Re: Radiation?

Posted by Wendy Tea on Feb 11, 2020 11:52 pm

Kayak1‍  What a great question! Are you having pain now from lymphoma?  Are you doing your exercises and massages? They really helped me and I still do them.

Is your doctor recommending radiation? Wouldn't it be wonderful to do everything possible to make sure you have a healthy future? I have always asked my doctor what they would do if I was their mother or sister. Sometimes their answer is surprising. 

Best wishes on your choice. 
Healing takes time and opportunity. Wendy Tea

Re: Radiation?

Posted by dmarie on Feb 12, 2020 12:13 pm

Hi Kayak1
Sorry to hear you are having to go through all this.  In 2018 at the age of 68 I had a left breast mastectomy with 2 positive lymph nodes out of 14. That was followed by chemo and then 25 rounds of radiation which finished in July 2019. My age was never brought up as a factor in any of the treatment choices.. I have luckily had no issues with lymphedema. I am pretty active and am very diligent about doing my exercises so that may be helping. (One thing directly related to lymphedema I have been doing since I first came out of surgery is to squeeze a soft rubber ball for a few minutes throughout the day. It was suggested by one of the assistants at my surgeon's  office.)
It can be hard to make decisions when there are so many unknowns in this battle. Like you, I was worried about lymphedema and the radiologist did warn me that it was a possible side effect from the surgery and the radiation but I wanted to use every weapon I could in this battle so I went ahead.  
Del
 

Re: Radiation?

Posted by Kayak1 on Feb 12, 2020 1:15 pm

Thanks dmarie‍ . I guess once l speak with the radiologist l will get a better picture of what to do. I am very active, like to lift weights and l have organized Pickleball at our church. These activities help keep my arm moving which l am sure will help with the lymphedema. 
Did you have any problems with skin irritations under your arm? Not sure if there is a limit to how much you can use your arm during radiation. I do hope if l go that route l can continue to play PB while l am receiving treatment.

Re: Radiation?

Posted by dmarie on Feb 12, 2020 4:47 pm

Kayak1‍ 
I am very fair skinned and I did get fairly sore from radiation. I was still able to do most things but was too sore to wear much of anything other that oversized T-shirts and other loose tops. I was not allowed to swim which was a bit of a nuisance as it was a hot summer and we spend a lot of time out at the lake. 
Are you a kayaker? I have been one for 20+ years. I could not wear my lifejacket as it would rub but otherwise could do some short paddling.

Good luck
Del
 

Re: Radiation?

Posted by Kayak1 on Feb 12, 2020 5:15 pm

Hi dmarie
Yes l am a kayaker. Another reason why l am looking at all my options. Did you use the cavilon barrier film spray when you were getting the radiation? They have told me to put that on to help with redness. How are you now that it has been some time since you had radiation? I hope you will be able to wear a life jacket and clothes that fit.

Re: Radiation?

Posted by Essjay on Feb 12, 2020 6:43 pm

Hey Kayak1‍ a canoeist here...I had radiation last summer (finished in June) and I was out paddling for the July long weekend. I had some itching and soreness to my skin, but I used the Glaxol base moisturizer recommended several times a day, and hydrocortisone cream for the sore bit as necessary and it soon cleared up. I had to cover up all summer because of skin sensitivity but that was fine (I used a kids factor 60 sunblock over the radiated area to be sure). I never had issues with my PFD or canoe clothes.

Essjay
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: Radiation?

Posted by Kayak1 on Feb 12, 2020 7:12 pm

Thanks Essjay. It is so important to me to be able to carry on my activities. I realize getting rid of the cancer is my number one priority. I guess one hopes that the treatments won’t cause more stress as you have to give up all the things you love because of discomfort.
Thank you for your helpful information 

Re: Radiation?

Posted by dmarie on Feb 13, 2020 7:53 am

Kayak1‍ 
Did not use barrier film spray as it was not recommended by my radiation team. Like Essjay‍ I used a lot of Glaxol Base cream which helped. The real soreness lasted about 7 weeks so I was pretty much OK by the end of August. Hopefully you will have little irritation if you decide to do the radiation. It usually just depends on you skin type and what intensity your dose is.

Re: Radiation?

Posted by dmarie on Feb 13, 2020 8:13 am

Kayak1‍ 
Forgot to mention that the radiologist used a thermoplastic bolus sheet during the first 20 rounds of my radiation. This sheet helps the radiation get to the depth where it is needed but as a result the dose to you skin is intensified. This certainly contributed to my skin woes but I believe it is not used in the majority cases.

Re: Radiation?

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on Jul 27, 2020 3:16 pm

Kayak1‍ - How are you doing post treatment?