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Thursday, May 28, 2009 Flora, Community Member, asks

Q: 4 weeks vs. 6 weeks radiation


Had a lumpectomy on April 8, 2009. 4 lymph nodes were removed -all benign. 53 year old-INvasive ductal carcinoma, Stage 1, oncotypedx score is 11, therefore, the medical onco said it's early stage breast cancer and there will be no chemo just radiation. Had complications after lumpectomy = two holes opened in my skin and a lot of drainage came out. was put on antibiotic 2 times. one hole formed a scab and has healed. the other is still open, therefore, the radiation oncologist could not simulate me, but said she will simulate me in one week no matter if the hole closes or not and she is recommending 4 weeks of radiation due to my age and not 6. What do u think of this? What impact will the simulation and radiation have on my open wound?How soon after the wound closes should they start radiation? How years do u think I will live? Will the radiation be as effective even though it was not started one month after lumpectomy? How late can radiation start after a lumpectomy? The tumor was on my left breast and I am afraid that radiation will damage my lungs and hear and cause other cancers. Should I do radiation given the early stage and onco score of 11? thank you for answering all of my questions.

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Answers (1)
Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
5/29/09 5:53am

Flora, I don't know the answers to all of your questions, but I'll touch on just a few.  Radiation will be hard on your skin, so having the open wound healed sounds important to me.  I'm not sure why the doctor is saying your age would be a factor in how much radiation you would receive.  I was 50 and had extensive radiation because I had a Stage IIIB cancer and 16 positive lymph nodes.  The decision about how many radiation treatments should be based on more than your age.  Maybe the doctor just didn't explain very well.  Four weeks of treatment may be all you need, but ask some more questions about the basis for the decision.  No one can say how long you will live, but survival rates for Stage I cancers are very high these days.  There is every reason to believe you will live to be an old lady.  I hope your wound heals quickly so that you can move on to radiation.  

Flora, Community Member
5/29/09 8:19am

Thanks for responding. How many years ago did u have radiation and on which  breast? Does the breast ever look the same, by this I mean does the tanning/discoloration from radiation ever go away? Thanks again

Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
5/29/09 8:00pm

My radiation experience eleven years ago would be different from yours because I had more than the average amount following six months of treatment with chemo and surgery for a different form of breast cancer (inflammatory breast cancer).  I had already had a mastectomy before the radiation.  I do still have a discolored area, but not everyone experiences that.  When you have your next appointment with your radiation oncologist, you'll want to ask about what particular side effects you can expect understanding that with every treatment there will be some unknowns.

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By Flora, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/08/10, First Published: 05/28/09