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Friday, July 03, 2009 jkg1958, Community Member, asks

Q: Why do I have to have radiation after chemo?

I was diagnoised with invasive ductual carcinoma grade III and had a lumpectomy to remove it.  The margins came back clean from the surgery.  I am having chemo treatments and herceptin for 1 year.  Shouldn't the lumpectomy and the chemo take care of the cancer?  Why do I have to have radiation also?  I have read a lot about radiation causing cancer.  It seems like this is just overkill.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/ 3/09 11:31pm

Did you ask your doctor this question? If not, you should. There are any number of reasons to have radiation after a lumpectomy and chemo: the doctor may feel it was close enough to your chest wall it could have invaded there; or, since you won't be taking hormone therapy drugs, he/she is doing everything possible to ensure as many cancer cells as possible are wiped out. Chemo doesn't necessarily kill all the cancer cells in your body; radiation is a second-line defense. Used to be radiation sometimes caused secondary cancers; but it's so much better than it used to be, I wouldn't worry about this. My advice: do what the doctor says, or get a second opinion. Good luck - PJH

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By jkg1958, Community Member— Last Modified: 11/17/10, First Published: 07/03/09