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Radiation; one weeks vs three

Radiation; one weeks vs three

Posted by KerriKerri on May 12, 2020 12:29 pm

Just had my first interview with the radiologist. We spoke for about an hour so we covered a lot. 

When I baulked at the three weeks of chemo, he eventually said that a new study indicates that one week of radiation is being viewed as effective as three. He is advocating the initial setup appointment and a week of radiation. I don't remember if that would be especially high doses or normal doses.

 Four weeks ago I had a lumpectomy, lump was cancer, breast tissue clear, lymph nodes clear.

I am almost 74 and seriously contemplating skipping the usual aggressive treatments of which radiation is one.  Chemo will likely not be part of my suggested treatment. Hormone treatment is on the table for discussion. 

I'm reading all the threads, weighing the options. What is your 'gut' reaction to this?



Re: Radiation; one weeks vs three

Posted by Nan1 on May 12, 2020 9:19 pm

Everyone has to decide what is best for them.   I just finished 4 months of Chemo and 16 Radiation treatments.  I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in August, 2019.  I was told that radiation was mandatory and that Chemo was strongly suggested as TNBC is aggressive.  The reality is that nothing is mandatory.  It is the patient's decision and we all make the decisions we do for our own reasons.  I was scared to death of Chemo but at 61 and always being healthy until this point I decided to push my fears aside and give this disease every ounce of fight I have in me.  My cancer was caught early with no lymph node involvement or metastasis anywhere else.  I will not lie and say it was a picnic because that is not true, but it was not nearly as bad as I feared it would be.  The radiation went rather smoothly as well.  I did not suffer any issues with it until the last 4 treatments but the side effects were manageable and not horrible.  The most emotional part of the whole thing for me was losing my hair but it is growing back rather quickly.  
I wish that I could give you a straight forward answer to your question but I do not think anyone can.  This is something you have to decide based on what you feel is best for you. 

Re: Radiation; one weeks vs three

Posted by KerriKerri on May 13, 2020 8:47 am

Thanks Nan 1. I am beginning to get a sense of where people are coming from and how it affects their choices and this is what I need. I value everyone's comments

Re: Radiation; one weeks vs three

Posted by Essjay on May 13, 2020 4:36 pm

KerriKerri‍ I have a friend who has just been through 5 radiation treatments as described for you. It’s a fairly new protocol that is showing itself to be effective. She came through treatment with no issues, and two weeks later her skin is good and she doesn’t have fatigue. Hope this helps. Essjay xx
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: Radiation; one weeks vs three

Posted by KerriKerri on May 13, 2020 5:21 pm

Yes, he said it was a new study. thank you.

Re: Radiation; one weeks vs three

Posted by Marsh on May 14, 2020 2:18 pm

I am 65 years old. I did 4 dose dense chemo treatments. 1 every 2 weeks. Then after a 4 weeks or so rest I did 25 whole breast radiation treatments plus 5 boosts with absolutely no trouble at all. Just before the last boost, I had a slightly sore spot that was treated with Flamazine and healed almost overnight. If I were given the the chance to do 1 week of radiation I would jump at it! But everyone seems to be different in how they react. I totally understand wanting to know how others did.

Re: Radiation; one weeks vs three

Posted by happyhiker1 on May 15, 2020 11:55 am

My turn to add to this discussion. LIke you KerriKerri, I had lumpectomy recently, in my case for Stage 1, grade 2 BC (24 jan), no lymph node involvement, clear margins; no chemo advised since good low Oncotype result, and went to my rad-oncologist fully armed with the latest scientific studies that do not advise radiation for my age group (I am 68) and stage 1 BC.  But, my rad-oncologist pointed out that my case is a bit more complex as there was nerve involvement (actually, good, because it made it painful, only reason I detected it) and it was 'multi-focal' (2 other small tumors starting), and it didn't show on mammo (even tho' I don't have dense breasts. 
So, I am following her advice, even though I am the last person to accept radiation...I have always systematically refused even dental xrays, and when I had Hodgkins Lymphoma 9 yrs ago, I negotiated with my Dr to avoid rad and underwent 6 months of chemo which he said would be the alternative.  Maybe a good thing because if I had had rad back then, would not have been eligible for it with this 2nd unwanted cancer type!  
So I understand entirely wanting to avoid unnessarary treatments and believe me, if I could have felt safe avoiding this rad treatment, I would have done so (esp since is left side, so I do the 'breath hold' to avoid heart).  I will have 15 sessions in all, and only 5 left to do. So far, only a slight fatigue, but not enough to keep me from daily walks.  Of course, there is no knowing what effects there might be down the road, but after talking with friends who underwent rad 15+ yrs ago who are doing fine, and wanting to do the utmost to get rid of any rogue cells, I went ahead with this.

My rad oncologist said if there had not been the complicating factors in my case, she would not have advised rad (given my type of BC and age).
I am debating about the follow up hormone blocker.  She said I would be 95% protected from reoccurrence after the rad, and the Armidex (anastrozole) will add 3%. I don't know yet what effects it might give me,and really wonder how good it can be to block all estrogen. So that will be my own quandary. In any case, I am adding flaxseed to cereal, as studies show it has estrogen-blocker effects.

And about other life style measures: I have always been vegetarian, but now am transitioning to vegan.  Some studies show vege is not enough, it is dairy that can contribute to BC.

Best of luck with your decision, not an easy one.


Re: Radiation; one weeks vs three

Posted by County Girl on Jul 20, 2020 10:34 am

I have TNBC with small cancer cells found in one lymph node. Therefore I’m in chemo right now and will do radiation after chemo. I spoke to the Radiation Doctor about radiation. She said that during COVID they were doing 1 week in place of the 3 weeks previously done. They use this approach in the UK evidently and it works well.  She wasn’t sure if they would continue with shorter radiation periods. Maybe radiation will change after COVID is over. 

Re: Radiation; one weeks vs three

Posted by SheenaS on Jul 27, 2020 11:51 am

Country Girl‍ 
I am currently undergoing radiation and I opted the one-week vs 3 weeks. It's actually 5 days + 1 day boost. total of 6 days. and I was also told about the study in the UK and that because of Covid, they are also offering this option to patients. I was concerned about the end results but studies have shown that  the results are the same than for patients who underwent the 3-week treatment. Note that you will get a slightly higher dose too. Therefore I opted one week.  Day 3 today. for me. 

Stage 2 Breast Cancer Grade 3/3. 

Re: Radiation; one weeks vs three

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on Jul 27, 2020 2:20 pm

SheenaS‍ and Country Girl‍ I hope you two can connect and share experiences!

3 more to go SheenaS‍!


Re: Radiation; one weeks vs three

Posted by LGS on Jul 29, 2020 5:37 pm

My oncologist advised me that it would be 5 and one-half weeks (if I was having reconstruction) or 3 weeks and one day if no reconstruction. No other options were offered. I had a mastectomy of my left breast in February and finished chemo 2 weeks ago. The wait time for radiation is 4 to 6 weeks.