It is my understanding that the boosts are more targeted. Yes, you will have some more scar tissue, but it should not bother you later on. I did stay rather tender for many months and my skin seemed numb for a couple years. Nothing really bad though. Beats having cancer! I suggest you look at www.breastcancer.org for more info. That is the best place I have found. You are almost done, yay you! Good luck!
Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcinoma Questions
Asked by JaneG on Monday, May 6, 2013
OK, I have 5 more rads to go through and I'll be done with this. I understand this is going to be the "boost" portion of the treatment. What exactly is the "boost"? Also, does radiation create more scarring inside the breast? I think I have more now than when I had the lumpectomy. Plus, the whole breast is itself more tender than before. Is this normal? Likely to be permanent?
5 Answers from the Community
Congratulations on nearing the end of radiation. My understanding is that the boosts give you a higher dose of radiation. It's also a different type of radiation. As mentioned, it's more localized and the radiation tech told me it goes all the way down to the bone. I had more burning from the boosts but it cleared up quickly once the radiation was done.
Hi, JaneG. That is my understanding as well - that the boosts are more targeted and I think I recall that they are a higher dose of radiation (and possibly a different kind?). I had 6 1/2 weeks of radiation and the last 5 treatments were boosts. I finished radiation treatment in November 2010 and the site where the boosts were - which is the same site where the tissue was removed - is still tender. I had a follow-up visit with the surgeon just last week and she said that is totally normal. She said it will probably be tender for years to come. That's terrific that you are almost done. Yeah!
I am 4 months out from my last chemo and 6 weeks out from my last radiation. My radiaton oncologist explained the boost treatments as being 1) proton instead of electron and 2) targeted to the area where the tumor was removed. They were in some ways more intense but since they were targeted to a much smaller area than the first 28 treatments, they didn't cause me any particular problems especially since my first 28 treatments were done with me in the prone (on my stomach) position so I got minimal rads to internal organs. You are correct about the scar tissue internally and the change in the skin itself but some of what you may be experiencing is inflammation and swelling.. My rad oncologist suggested 1) continuing to use a lotion on the skin for some time and 2) to massage the breast from the inner aspect out to help with reducing swelling and promoting healing internally (it also helps the lymphatic flow for those who have had lymph nodes removed). He said that it will resolve to some degree but it is hard to predict exactly how much and how long it will take.
It will be great for you to be done and you will start to feel better every day. The staff at the clinic is great, but I definitely don't miss seeing them frequently.
I just got my hair dyed this morning and am enjoying the new freedom of a short, red hair style. It is great to feel the breeze and the sunshine on my head without my wig.
(PS, be sure to ask you rad oncologist about being out in the sun. Mine wants me to were tops that have sunscreen protection in them as he said the area that was irradiated will be more sensitive to sun exposure even through clothing for at least the next 6 months.)
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