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Do I need Radiation?
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Do I need Radiation?

I had Stage 2, Lobular Carcinoma, and non-estrogen receptive, noninvasive, right breast in 2000. Diagnosed by Lumpectomy with clear margins no lymph nodes involved. This was followed by 3 months of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation. The chemo was bad I lost my hair and I was tired and nauseous all the time. With the radiation, I had extreme sunburn like burn on my skin with blisters and sores, and again was very tired. I had to continue working through this to keep my insurance.
October 12, 2009 I was diagnosed by stereotactic biopsy with Stage 0, estrogen receptive, noninvasive DCIS, .7cm, left breast.  It was removed by lumpectomy with clear margins. The surgeon is prescribing radiation and 5 years of Tamoxifen. I had a complete hysterectomy in 2001 and I am 53 years old. My sister also had estrogen receptive cancer in 1999 she was on Tamoxifen for 5 years with all the side effects.  I am strongly leaning toward NO radiation or Tamoxifen. I would rather have mammograms more often then go through the side effects.  Without ovaries, isn’t my estrogen level lower already? I have an appointment with my Radiologist and Oncologist coming up soon but I would love to hear what others have to say.
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6 Comments
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25201_tn?1255584436
Since you say that the recommendation for treatment was made by your Surgeon I would make an appointment with an Oncologist and have an indepth discussion with him/her regarding the appropriate treatment for your present circumstance. I truly do not believe it wise to have NO treatment but I do question that Tamoxifen was recommended since you are obviously post-menopausal. Keep in mind that no matter how frequent the Mammograms; this has no effect in reducing your risk of recurrance and the Rads and Medication certainly do.  Regards ...
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739091_tn?1300669627
You've had cancer and now have DCIS. Please see an oncologist and get their recommendations.

Because you still have breast tissue you still have the highest odds of recurrence, not just because your sister had it but because YOUR body has had it twice. I won't tell you what to do (well I would but it's got to be your choice) but I'd consider getting rid of the breast tissue entirely.

Your adrenals produce estrogen, extra fat on your body adds to the issue. There are other threads on here that you can read that will make you think twice about this. And the fact that with no ovaries you still got DCIS should tell you something. No treatment? No way!

The choice is yours and whatever you decide will be best for you. No regrets! :)
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Avatar_n_tn
What about the danger to my heart since this is on the left breast down low and near the center of my chest? I know these are questions I will have to ask my doctors. I am just very worried about the dangers and side effects of the treatment. Maybe my best option would be a total masectomy.
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962875_tn?1314213636
Interventional radiologists try to focus the radiation, to protect surrounding areas as much as possible. Since this is such a big concern for you, you might want to arrange a conusultation with the radiologist to help you weigh the cost-benefit ratio for rad. tx in your specific case. That information could then help you decide between rad. and other options available to you.

Regards...
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739091_tn?1300669627
I would ask every question you can think of. This is the time to write down everything that comes across your path so you leave no stone unturned. And make sure you ask the right question to the correct doctor. Ask the hematology oncologist about tamoxifen and options. Ask the radiology oncologist about radiation. Get opinions. More than one if you feel you need to! Don't be afraid to ask questions, you have time before you make your decisions. Keep posting to us and we'll offer as many questions as we can to help you get answers. Print the thread out and take it with you if that will help. I took a tape recorder with me to appointments so I didn't miss anything.  

Radiation can cause damage to anything it reaches and your concerns are valid and right on. Bluebutterfly2222 is correct in saying that they do try to angle the radiation to keep it as far away from heart and lungs. I did rads and know that even though they tried not to they did get my right lung. It was a chance I took, what I call between a rock and a hard place. Cancer stinks and so does treatment, right?

Depending on where the DCIS is on your breast, mastectomy with or without immediate reconstruction may be a great choice, but a personal decision for sure. Your DCIS is very tiny which is good. I guess I would ask the hematology oncologist the question.... if I had modified double mastectomy, would I still need radiation? I say to ask that oncologist because they don't have any cards in the game, in other words, they gain nothing from your choice of mastectomy or radiation. They do however have the say so on hormone treatment. Then ask that question of the radiology oncologist and see what they say.

Japdip is correct when she said she's surprised that they suggested tamoxifen since you are post menopausal. I am also post menopausal but am on tamoxifen because I can't tolerate the AI's out there. So absolutely ask why they chose tamoxifen for you, and have them explain what it does and why they want you to take it. Ask about the risks and options.

This is all such personal decisions for you but don't stop asking questions and don't stop getting answers. Keep your mind open and digest everything and then choose what is right for you, what you can live with, with no regrets.

Best wishes.

(Sorry if I'm too direct, or as everyone else says, abrupt. I do mean well) :)
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you, You are not to direct for me. I need some one to be straight forward to help me think things through better. I am going to print this thread  and make notes on it to take along to my next appiontment on Nov. 18. If you could think of anyother Question I shold ask please let me know. Thank you.
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