• Who determines if you need radiation therapy following chemo ? I had a double mastectomy, they removed 15 lymph nodes.

    Asked by warrior on Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Who determines if you need radiation therapy following chemo ? I had a double mastectomy, they removed 15 lymph nodes.

    Two nodes were cancerous. I am in the process of reconstruction. I have the expanders in. I was told that after chemo I would see the radiation doctor. But my plastic surgeon told me that they should be able to give me an answer now. I would prefer to get it before my surgery. Why would they make me risk ruining my new implants. Especially after all the pain and time it is taking for the reconstruction?

    3 Answers from the Community

    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      That depends on your doctor and where your at. I had my treatment done at Vanderbilt in Nashville, they have a "tumor board" a group of doctors that review each case and determine the best course of treatment. Other, smaller places you may just have one doctor, probably your oncologist that will determine what course of treatment. But, you should ask those questions of your doctor. NEVER be afraid to ask questions, it's your body, your treatments, make them answer the questions until your satisfied. Good luck to you in your treatments, I wish you well!!

      almost 5 years ago
    • warrior's Avatar

      I am at MSK in New York. They see only cancer patients so nothing cancer related is a big deal to them. I always feel rushed in and out of the offices. I have asked my doctor about this twice, and twice she has responded with "We will see what the Radiation Specialist says....when the time comes.
      I want to know now. I need to plan ahead and hopefully get my life back together. These doctors do not realize the toll this disease takes, not only on us but our families, friends and JOBS !! Do they really think all of us can just take unlimited sick days?
      Thanks for taking the time to answer. And good luck to you also.

      almost 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Well the bottom line is that you do. Doctors can only make recommendation. Most often radiation follows both chemo and surgery. The purpose of radiation is usually to kill off any cancer cells that surgery and/or chemo have missed. I'm inclined to agree with what your doctor said. Whether and what radiation you will need depends on what shows up (or doesn't as the case may be once you have completed chemo. Actually what surprises me more is that your plastic surgeon would put in the expanders and schedule reconstructive surgery while you are still in active treatment for cancer. Is postponing the reconstruction surgery an option? Honestly, if it were me, I would get a second opinion on the plastic surgery.

      almost 5 years ago

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