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Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

19 May 2018 19:09

My mum got her results, she has a tiny 16mm tumour in her right breast & not two as previously thought 

Surgeon said they had caught it early. 

All other blood tests and cat scans throughout her body are clear of cancer. 

He said at she has the aggressive fast growing cancer and has recommended the following : lumpectomy & lympnodes removed under right arm followed by radiotherapy followed by chemotherapy 

mum doesn't know what to expect, is the lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy followed by chemotherapy normal procedure?

does anyone have any experience of this treatment plan?

does anyone know or have experienced not losing your hair on head using this treatment plan?

how many sessions of radiotherapy & chemo is normal?

she goes into hospital Monday any help and advise will be much appreciated 


thank you 

Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

20 May 2018 09:26 in response to Ger73

Hi I'm in similar position to your mum. I have stage 2 breast cancer & they found a 19mm lump underneath a cyst I'd found. Having lumpectomy 31 May with lymph nodes removed as part of surgery although these tests were clear. 

They've said caught early, its small & very treatable. I'm having radiotherapy only though about 6 wks after surgery. It's mon-fri for 3-3.5 wks & breast cancer nurse advised last week its only 15 minutes & only 2 mins of this is the actual radiotherapy.  if the results of surgery find they'd not managed to take away all of the cancer cells this would mean further surgery

Stage 2 for me is it has the potential to spread but might not hence I only need radio. If your mum's is fast growing & may spread, I was advised by my consultant is why chemo is needed aswell as radio.

I'd suggest getting in touch with the breast cancer nurse as she should explain exactly what your mum has to have & this might just set hers & your mind more at rest about why both treatments are needed.

i hope all goes well for your mum & its ok for you to show your emotions too. My husband has been so supportive but is having same emotions as me. We agreed to be honest about how we're feeling as I don't want him pretending to be ok when he's not. It's actually helped me get through this seeing him emotional too

A massive hug to you both. 

Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

22 May 2018 14:57 in response to Ger73

Hello Ger73, thanks for posting.

I'm sorry to hear about your mum's recent diagnosis.

It's good news to hear that they think it has been found at an early stage. I think it is very normal for patients who are starting treatment to feel that they are going into the unknown.

It sounds like your mum is to have a commonly used plan of treatment for this stage of breast cancer with a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy and lastly radiotherapy. You can read about the recommended guidelines for breast cancer on the NICE ( National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) website. However decisions about treatments are usually discussed at a MDT ( multidisciplinary team) meeting for every new cancer patient.

If you haven't already, take a look at our webpages about the different treatments used to treat breast cancer here. There is information about the surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy your mum is to have that will hopefully help to give her a better idea about what to expect. It is worth remembering every patients' experience of treatment will be different.

Your mum should have access to a breast care nurse as well as her cancer doctor. If she has any questions, or is unsure or worried about the treatments she should get in touch and speak to them. There are quite often breast cancer support groups for patients to connect with locally and most patients find these helpful and supportive.

I hope this helps. If you or your mum would like to chat to one of us nurses you are very welcome. Our number is 0808 800 4040 and we are here Monday - Friday 9am-5pm.

Best wishes to you and your mum,


Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

5 Jun 2018 08:52 in response to Ger73

Hi there

I replied 20 may & hope it helped a little.  I had lumpectomy last Thursday & so far so good. Now at hospital 13 June for results so fingers crossed again.

I just wondered how your mum is getting on?


Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

17 Jun 2018 01:52 in response to Sd1

Hi ya, apologises for the late late response it's  been a hectic few weeks. My mum has been very unwell since I last posted. She developed an infection one day after her drain was removed. She had sweats hit temperate then chill & freezing stopped eating & was generally unwell. Brought her to the gp & was sent straight to accident & emergency where she was admitted to hospital for six days. Thankfully she is out of hospital now but still not 100% she had to get a drain reinserted to allow the infection to drain out fluid. Hopefully this will be removed next week. We had our oncology appointment last week, mum has been told that she's needs chemotherapy & radiotherapy. It's a very aggressive cancer & although the ct scan shows no evidence of cancer anywhere else they want to treat it with chemotherapy & radiation. Obviously mum is sacred & upset & angry still but we have been given a date now for treatment to begin in July. She needs 1 day of chemotherapy every 3 weeks for 3 weeks then 1 day of chemotherapy every week for 9 weeks. Then 4 weeks of radiotherapy afterwards. 

Its going to to be a long road ahead hopefully she will develop no further infections which could delay the start date.

how are you doing? Have you got your treatment plan yet? 


Best wishes & thanks for your support

big hugs xx

Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

19 Jun 2018 00:03 in response to Ger73

Hi there Ger,

I hadn't seen your post originally.  So sorry your mum had such a poor recovery after the surgery.  Hopefully the treatment will all be smooth from here on in!

From the further info you've given it sounds like your mum's plan is now similar to what mine is (save that I can't have my surgery until after chemo because the spread meant they couldn't delay attacking the cancer cells generally).

I'm on FEC-T chemotherapy for stage 3 grade 2 breast cancer (do you know what your mum's chemo is?)  I'm having 3 lots of the FEC part and each is given 3 weeks apart, I'm then having 9 weekly lots of the T part (the steroid).  My mum, on the other hand, had the T at the same time as the FEC but I have bipolar disorder and the steroid bit particularly could be a problem for me so they wanted to get the FEC part bit done then deal with the steroid part.  If you know what chemo regime your mum is on then there will be others that have had the same type, even then it usually gets 'tweaked' a little for each patient especially as we're often taking meds for other conditions etc.

I will then have my surgery hopefully and then it is likely I will have radiotherapy.

With my mum's second bout of bc she had the same order of events as you mum.  As I said above she was on FEC-T but hers was all done at the same time.  This time mum's was HER2+ so was also a very aggressive type.  Her first one was very aggressive too but was treated with radiotherapy.  The NICE guidelines that Nurse Naomi posted are great, you get to see how 'regimented' it all is and that can put your mind at rest that it isn't just a case of an oncologist going off on his own ideas.

Give us a shout if you want any tips for your mum (easy to assume you and your mum will have lots of bc survivors to ask but not everyone does).  And, as you mention your mum is still scared, upset and angry I wish you the strength to keep her on the 'straight and narrow' in terms of doing what is best for keeping her as safe as can be while going through this process (moisturising regularly, saltwater mouthwashes, prescribed mouthwashes, having a separate hand towel, drinking lots of fluids etc.)  So many things we can all do to help prevent getting an infection etc. but it will be hard for your mum if she is still coming to terms with the diagnosis.

My mum got her 8 years all clear recently from the HER2+ bc, she is fit as a fiddle and living a great life (she's 71), I hope your mum comes through this just as well.


Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

19 Jun 2018 17:15 in response to Ger73

your poor mum had a terrible time mum had the same and although she is dreading the pathology results tommorow she seems to be doing well ..the drain was the worst thing for her ..i am dreading them telling her that she is in need of chemo Sad 


the cancer was grade 2 and 5 cm in size and another lump which was 2 cm in size ...

ductal cancer which i hear is the most common form 

im really scared she will need chemo as it was a big tumour ...fingers crossed the nodes they removed will be clear .


i hope your mum gets better soon 

Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

19 Jun 2018 17:17 in response to TwinTwo

are you losing your hair with your chemo ? 

Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

20 Jun 2018 01:08 in response to ricky2018

I cut my hair short (it was almost waist length) before starting chemo so hard to tell.  Had first chemo a fortnight ago, I think hair is coming out easier than before but not clumps of it or anything.  My mum's came out properly after her second round, a friend's was after her third round.

Had a wig session today, still not sure I'll bother.  I collected the hair I had cut and it's going to a lady in England who is going to make me a couple of fringe wefts to velcro onto the underside of scarves/hats etc.

I know it will still be difficult for your mum, but I really have been very good on chemo so far, even started my new job (and I'm not pushing myself, just taking it easy).


Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

21 Jun 2018 08:44 in response to Ger73

Hi there & sorry to hear your mum has been so poorly. I hope she feels better soon & good luck with her treatment

i should get my treatment plan next week & hoping for radio & hormone therapy but have a chance of chemo too. Off to Majorca next thurs which will give time to chill out & put this to one side then home to face the treatment. 

I agree with the other ladies who replied that it's putting life into perspective & things I used to let bother me now go down the list of issues to deal with & when I get back to work I'll certainly be taking more of a back seat & let others take the strain. There's more to life than worrying about work as it'll all still be there tomorrow. Life is for living & enjoying & all us ladies will deal with the whatever life throws our way & make us stronger in the long run. 

Best wishes to your mum & I hope you're managing to cope too as I know my husband has struggled feeling helpless & wanting to wrap me up but not smother me also! 


Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

6 Oct 2018 21:04 in response to Sd1

Hi everyone


thank you for your support, how are you all getting on with your treatment plans?

Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

3 Nov 2018 12:28 in response to Ger73

Hi there

Luckily I only needed radio x20 which ended September . It's not hit with tiredness like I was expecting & put this down to being a huge gym goer before this all began. Done phased return to work & back fully now they've been amazing. Had 2nd scare few wks ago found lump in other armpit but scans show just a reactive lymph so all good. Just starting to get back to some sort of normality & can't wait for this year to end as it's been such a rollercoaster.

So enough about me, how's your mum getting on? X

Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

3 Nov 2018 20:11 in response to Sd1

Hi SD1

How are you? I'm glad you are doing so well. It must have been such a scare for you, but I'm a big believer in talking to the angels, they are always by your side to provide help and support at our times of need. I know what you mean, I just want to forget 2018 altogether it's being a tough year for myself due to other circumstances & then it was a complete shock to learn my mum had cancer.

It took a long time to learn to cope, I was a complete mess all year, but I'm learning to cope better now but it's still a long few months ahead. My friends at work have supported me through this year, I don't know what I'd have done without their advice, shoulders to cry on etc.  My mum is doing well, obviously she is fed up with all the doctors hoking & poking at her but I just keep reminding her that it's for the best & she is getting better.

We have had a few set backs to be honest, infections setting in & high temperatures so the oncologist consultant has decided a few times to cancel treatment on the day at the last moment which is really annoying as her bloods were all ok so it's prolonging the whole process by a month or so. The hospital is around two hours away so the travelling is taking its toll on everyone at this stage. At the moment she's having bother with her right foot, it keeps swelling up around the calf, ankle & foot. There's no pain so it must be a side effect from the chemo she's receiving. It's a rare side effect but it's not causing concern yet at least.

Mum is on the weekly treatments now so we've got 5 more weeks to go with the chemo. That will bring us up to early December fingers crossed so long as there is no further cancellations. We are going to a radiotherapy pre-accesment appointment on Monday, don't really know what to expect. Oncologist  is very pleased with mums chemo & has booked us in to visit the radiotherapy department. We've been told that the radiotherapy will be daily for 4 weeks starting 27th December. 

Hopefully then mums hair will start growing back, she is still very depressed about losing her hair, but there's nothing we can do about this at the moment. I'm hoping that her hair will be back for a wedding in March 2019. How is your hair coming along since your treatment finished? Do you have any advice to help hair growth from your experiences?

So hopefully by end of January all this crazy madness will be finished, we can't wait & mum cannot wait to get her pic line out! If you have any help or advise about getting through the radiotherapy for the next month, I'd welcome any advice or even questions that we should be asking at our pre-accessment on Monday.

It's not easy but the end goal is to get better, stay positive & enjoy life because I've learned a lot this year that life is precious, nothing lasts forever & for myself I've learned that there is more to life than work, that I do have an inner strength (something that I never thought I could cope with has happened now & has made me stronger). I will keep you in my prayers..

Thank you for your support, Ger xx




Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

17 Feb 2019 11:49 in response to ricky2018

I'm in my late 70s with triplenegative breast cancer. After surgery all is now clear. Is it worth having chemo with all the side effects or should I just have radiotherapy. Has anyone else of my age have an opinion


Breast cancer lumpectomy-radiotherapy-chemo timeframe

19 May 2019 16:42 in response to Ger73

Hi, I too an in the same position as your Mum.  I have stage 3 cancer and have already had 4 rounds, every 3 weeks, of chemotherapy, unfortunately I started losing my hair in the third week of my first chemo, but your Mum can try the cold-cap and if attached properly she may not lose any hair, it is worth trying.

My lump was 31mm and now is less than half and I am having a lumpectomy on the 30 May and depending on the dye and wire I may only need the initial lymph node removed.

Depending on what they find from the lumpectomy I will need 4 more chemo sessions if cancerous if not then radiotheraphy.  My onocologist has suggested this treatment as I agreed to be on one of the trials for the hospital, so far so good.

The best person to ask is the breast cancer nurse assigned to your mum, she will walk you through all the treatment involved.

I wish your Mum a speedy recovery, the main focus is to stay strong and have the mind-set that you will bet this.  Best wishes to you all.