Radiotherapy

Hello all,

Went to meet the radiographer today, he gave me lots of sheets of paper that explained all the procedures, my first appointment will be just for planning apparently. As it will be my left side he said they have to look to see if it will be too close to my heart and if so I will have to use the breath holding technique. I found that rather worrying, the whole thing sounds out of my comfort zone. Any one done the breath holding ?

I can't start or even have the planning appointment yet as I still have a lot of internal bruising and also I developed a rash on my left arm and chest, they think I have had an allergic reaction to E45 which they had told me to rub on three times a day. So that needs to get better, he prescribed an antihistamine. What creams did you use. Thanks xxx

28 Replies

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  • Cannot help but am interested in replies as I have a seroma wondering when people got started and for how long?

  • He also said I had seroma as well as bruising. He gave me the impression I had to just wait for it all to settle down !

  • I had my op Aug14 th and started RT Nov 7th (10yrs ago) so about12 weeks after.I had 6 weekly treatments .My advice is don't worry they know what they are doing .Stay strong be well ✊✌xxx

  • Hi there, I went through the same last year, it's NOT as scary as you may think, they just want you relaxed, it doesn't hurt at all. What may give you issues us muscle cramp as u need to stay still. The first few are the worst (if u want to call it worse) as I'm sure u have been through hard pain before. As then your muscles get use to the position. Also your skin may react however it's like sunburn it does it hurt. Try thinking of something nice, I use to imagine I was on the beach and need to stay still (only for minutes) to ensure my tan was good 😉 Your mind is the biggest gift here. Best of luck

  • I used to imagine lying on a beach too!! Hope you're doing well✊😘xx

  • They played soft music when I had mine x

  • Hi MJAP, am new here (hello everyone!) generally I lurk but as just finished radiotherapy for left side thought i'd post.

    I had 15 rounds of rx, left side, I have an expander implant in at the mo.

    Was given Aveeno cream which was brilliant, also through a recommendation, I bought MooGoo udder cream, it's not cheap but works really well, I use the moo goo on an evening and Aveeno in the morning. Its fab for all over body and i use on my face too..

    The breath holding technique is a doddle, you have to practice holding your breath for 20 second bursts. The hardest part is inhaling the same amount of breath each time, but they'll go through it with you until your happy (and they are too). I sing a lot and think that helped, you have to try and control it which I took as a challenge, I'm sure you'll be fine. They showed me the scans and the breath hold ones clearly show my heart is out of the path of the treatment. If you can't hold at any time, they'll redo the scans and can do the treatment over a longer period of time, if you see what I mean.

    The first appointment is a ct scan, they take measurements and give you 3 tiny pin dot tattoos so they can line the machine up every time. Each rx appointment I got drawn on in blue and red pen and my advice is wear dark colour bras and older ones (learnt the hard way, a white one has marks all over it now!)

    I'm still using the cream twice a day as they suggest you use for at least 3 weeks after treatment, they check you every week and if you're skin looks bad they have other cream options for you to try (theres a new one called R1 and R2 which I think you can get on prescription, i'd google it as it looks good)

    Sounds like you're still sore so take it easy, the travelling everyday was the worse bit, but didnt feel too tired and managed to play netball every week, it seemed to help with the fatigue.

    Good luck, its really not that bad (if you've had chemo is nowhere near as bad)

  • I had RT on left breast too don't worry the planning session gets everything sorted the machine tilts around you while you lie still on the bed and then they align the dots avoiding the heart as much as possible my oncologist said might get heart trouble in 30yrs!!! I can happily live with that🙌 You,ll be fine my my areola went really dark and the nipple itself took ages to peel they never gave me any creams but as it was like sunburn I used After sun cream ! It worked a treat! 10 years on the scars have faded life goes on. I would recommend you do your exercises lift your arms above your head as you,ll need to do this for your treament...here for a chat anytime wishing you well✊😘💞

  • You shouldn't worry about your heart but trust the physicists who do all the calculations and also I was told that the breast area is covered by the rays that crisscross it so it shouldn't touch the heart. The fact that one is asked to hold the breath, I think it's maybe to make sure the lung doesn't move as one of the worry concerns that part of the body too, and maybe to ensure you don't move.

    I only had two little tattoos and no CT scan before the treatment.

    I used a different cream, not the E45, one that was also recommended, but I would suggest the most natural oil which is coconut oil. If one can ingest it then it should be fine on the body. I had 15 sessions and my skin was fine. I drove myself to and from and enjoyed talking to other people. My treatment was through the NHS so maybe there is a small difference between this and the one received privately.

    Don't worry and think that it's making sure the cancer stays in the past.

    Good luck!

  • I used Aloe Vera gel from Holland & Barrett, it was really good they were very pleased with scar site & I didn't burn being a red head that was a good thing. Mine was the right side so didn't really have any thing to worry on that score but after chemotherpy this was a walk in the park. Hope all goes well with you good luck 💗

  • Can't help with the breath holding but had radiotherapy 5 years ago post lumpectomy and chemo. The only thing I remember about the radiotherapy is being sore and used lots of aqueous cream but the soreness recovered very quickly in my case. I hope that your rash clears up soon and you can then start your treatment. It must be a very worrying time for you.

    I am a bit worried myself at the moment as I have a lump quite high up on my neck and I start radiotherapy again next week. I keep thinking about the other things in neck such as arteries, thyroid etc. Has anyone else had it in a similar place? It has taken them 3 weeks since having a mask made and another CT scan to sort out when I could start as it is very complicated how they are going to do it.

  • Oh that must be so stressful for you, the only thing I would say and have said to myself is, they do seem to be incredibly skilled and the techniques seem to have been refined and improved that even though it is undoubtedly a worrying situation you/we really are in good hands😊

    I hope you won't need to wait much longer.

    Sending you lot's of positive thoughts.

    X

  • Thankyou

  • What have the doctors told you the problem on the neck was that they suggested radiation?

  • It is secondary breast cancer in a lymph node. I have had other lumps which have now disappeared due to having hormone injections of Fulvestrant for the past year

  • What symptoms did you have? And what did you use to take, Anastrozole or Tamoxifen? And is the lump on the same side as the breast cancer was? You can ask the oncologist the questions that worry you as I'm sure he'll be able to put your mind at ease.

    After my surgery, the surgeon told me that he found a bad lymph node under my clavicle and sent me to have a CT. During the radiation, I got that area treated as well as the breast and the armpit.

    Hope the radiation will successfully deal with the problem on the neck.

    Good luck!

  • The only symptom is the lump in my neck - it isn't painful. It is on the same side as my breast cancer was. Originally I was on Letrozole but it obviously didn't work for long -the cancer returned after 2 years. The first time it returned they found it in a lymph node near my clavicle found on a CT scan and then I found a few lumps in my armpit.

    I am going to ask lots of questions when I go to radiotherapy on Monday. I am not due to see my Oncologist until the end of April bit if I do not get any answers I will try and get an appointment with my Oncologist.

    I hope the treatment worked for you. Best Wishes

  • Best wishes for you too.

    I worry a bit as I had to stop taking the anastrozole for two months, at the end of three years of treatment, because I got extremely bad results to the liver function tests. I took another medicine, at the same time, for BP so now, we're trying to see which one attacked the liver.

    During your treatment to the neck, the parathyroid glands might be hit by the rays, in my opinion, but one has another pair of glands on the other side which could do a good job by themselves.

    Hope the treatment works and you can be completely rid off any reminder of breast cancer.

  • BTW, have you been eating, throughout the five years of treatment a lot of dairy products and/or red meat?

    Also, what kind of breast cancer did you have?

  • Not sure whether this is a reply to me as not sure what BTW is. In answer to your question about eating dairy and/or red meat - I have eaten both - I believe in eating everything in moderation

  • Yes. The question was meant for you. BTW is short for By The Way - it's the only short form I use.

    I've asked about dairy and red meat because my oncologist told me to abstain from both. Didn't ask him the reason but for sure it's the growth hormone. I abstained as much as possible from red meat (and my preferred meal is a big steak with a large salad!) but did indulge by far more in dairy as one is not supposed to eat fish in great quantities so what could I have eaten? I eat a lot of salads and beans but a bit of cheese and yoghurt is so tasty!

  • So sorry Rebec - I'm not very well up on abbrieviations. My Oncologist has never said anything about diet although I know various foods are supposed to be worse for you when you have cancer. They are always changing their minds about what you should and should not eat that's why I try and eat everything in moderation. That is a problem for me when it comes to cakes and chocolate - I tend to comfort eat especially when awaiting results!! The problem is if you listen to everything about what you should not, there is not much left. We have to indulge once in a while. It is very interesting the varied comments on this site and very useful

  • Thank you all for your really helpful replies, you are all so lovely 😊💜

  • I had good news today, my first appointment after the surgery. Doctor told me ALL the cancer was taken so it's up to me if I will take Tamoxifen or not. Radiotherapy, an appointment will be sent to me. Like you, it's my left breast. I will probably opt out of that too as it's too dangerous. As they told me 'The cancerous lump has completely been taken out' thank God. I will continue to change with my diet and carry on taking supplements. For the itchy blotchy skin I used Renu28.

  • I had to have a second operation before they said I now have clear margins and he said he had taken out the affected area.

    However my thoughts are there COULD be just one dodgy cell left (I am not an expert) but if you don't zap that last cell I presume it will grow!!

    So although there are risks, as long as everything is carefully prepared for it is a calculated risk.

    I am only trying to help you and don't mean to suggest you are wrong but I will have the RT as I feel the positives out weigh the negatives.

    I am interested what you think. X

  • Hi Mjap, my first radio appoint was a planning appoint plus CT scan and 3 little tattoos. I then went back a few days later for verification - where they double check the calculations and line you up on the machine again. I then started 15 treatments on my left breast. I didn't have to hold my breath they said the lung volume was taken into account when they did the calculations. As for my heart they said I would need a scan on it after about 5 years to see if any lasting damage. I didn't get as tired as I thought I would except on some of the longer treatments but I I'd get quite bad radiation burns and blistering in my armpit and my nipple. I've got really fair skin and usually need factor 50 in the sun so I was sort of expecting this. They healed quite quick. I used Superdrug Aqueous Cream which was really cooling. Hope this helps and you'll get yourself into a little routine very quickly. It's not as scary as you might think and the radiographers ask you how your are every treatment. Good luck 😃

  • I will start the radiotherapy on the 30th March and finish on the 19th April.

    I went for the planning meeting and it wasn't too bad although I did get really cold particularly my arms!

    Thank you all for your kind support, I am so glad I found you all 💞 x

  • Good luck with your treatment mjap hope all goes well for you stay relaxed keep up your exercises and most of all stay positive ! They got it out...they give you the best possible treatment to ensure it stays gone ,no use worrying over what you can't control so get on and enjoy your life✊💞

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