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Radiotherapy Side Effects

3 Apr 2015 22:34

Hi there,

I am due to meet an oncologist next week to discuss radiotherapy ater having bilateral WLE & SNB

Please could you let me know what side effects you had and were you able to work during & after your treatment?

Thanks a lot



Radiotherapy Side Effects

4 Apr 2015 09:48 in response to susu

H Susu

I am not sure what type of operation you have had there or the cancer.

I myslef had through cancer and if you want some deatil on the process i wentthrough i wrote a blog about the wholeof my experience which mught be of use to you.

it can be found at

feel free tp ask anything though



Radiotherapy Side Effects

4 Apr 2015 10:06 in response to Vatch

Dear Vatch,


Thank you for your reply and I will certainly look at your blog.

I had bilateral breast cancer - lobular grade 2 on one side and tubular grade 1 on the other.

After lumpectomy and sentinel node removal on both sides, the magins were clear and there was no cancer in the lymph nodes so all fine now from that point of view.

My concern is if, what and when any side effects will kick in from having radiotherapy and how realistic it is to continue working full time during and after this treatment.

I realise that everyone reacts differently but just want to get some sort of idea.

Thanks a lot




Radiotherapy Side Effects

4 Apr 2015 11:05 in response to susu

I also had Lobular stage2,  I had chemo and then radiotherapy.  Everyone is difference, but I had little side affects from the readiotherapy.  I drove there and went shopping after.  I completed treatment in the July and went back to work in the September.  I was on a phased return for about 6 weeks.  My job is quite physical working with children with complex needs, and although tired at the beginning, the help and support of my collegues, I soon got back into working.  I am also 60 so some of the tiredness may be age!!!

I probably could have worked during radiotherapy, but with having chemo I had a bit longer.

Take care - any more questions please ask.

Radiotherapy Side Effects

4 Apr 2015 12:15 in response to puddles

Thank you so much for your reply.

After my op, 13 March, I went back to work, monings only, last week and really struggled. I developed a seroma under one arm a week after the op and all the incisions are still healing so I found working (office/computer based) quite difficult. Obviously it's not nearly as strenous as your job, mentally or physically, but still requires a fair bit of movement. I was asked to do longer hours this coming week but feel I am not up to it just yet so will be doing mornings only again.

I am hoping to plan for the radiotherapy to be at the end of each working day so I can go straight home afterwards and I guess I will just have to see how it goes. It was reassuring to hear that you feel you would have been ok had you just had radiotherapy though so thank you for that..

I hope you are now well on the way to recovery?



Radiotherapy Side Effects

4 Apr 2015 13:08 in response to susu

hi susu

I had tomotherapy which is a bit more pinpoint and intensive and becuase ofbthis can make the tirednessmore intense.

For me i was ok up to week three then it all begain to kick in, in termsof termsof tirednessI work full time and did so up to week 4 but struggled towards the end. i then worked from home but had to have a sleep in the afternoon. i then finsihed my treatment and was worse the two weeks after therapy finished than during the whole time.Thos were the only two weeks i took off work. 

I then worked from home for the nex couple of weeks then did alternative days, but it takes me an hour to drive to work and after getting back hime had to sleep for 3 hours.

before my treatment i was i get to bed by 12 and wake up naturally by 6.30, no I dont last much passed 11 and could sleep in until 9, but i think that also got to do with me losing 60% of my muscle tone and 3 stone

I have now been back at work since Novemeber and can cope i am even coping with the long hours, but i am fit for nothing when i come home and need my sleep.

If you are like my you will try to hold on to as many normal things as you can, but eventually you have to listen to you body and slow down a bit.

Some Super human people like Guzzle on here have one bad week and move on, some don't ...its different for us all

Keep us up to date with how you are doing



Radiotherapy Side Effects

5 Apr 2015 22:21 in response to susu
You are asking the exact questions I am looking for! I start my radiotherapy on Tuesday after having a lumpectomy and have been checking out this site for some answers like you. I have picked up some answers about keeping the cream in the fridge, keeping it nice and cool. I am planning working mornings from 8-1 at least for a few weeks to see how I get on, I also planned my radiotherapy for 3 o'clock each day, so that I could still try and fit in some work! Wishing you all the best for your treatment, Shirley

Radiotherapy Side Effects

5 Apr 2015 23:35 in response to marcraff

Hi Shirley,

Thanks for your reply and good luck with starting your treatment on Tuesday, I hope it goes well for you.

I am assuming that I will be advised of creams, lotions etc duing my initial oncology appointment next Monday, along with all sorts of other information?

I am being pressured at work to return to full time hours asap but as I have no idea what, if any, the effects will be, it is very difficult to know what to do. I understand that some may not be felt until after the treatment has ended and of course it varies from person to person anyway so we will both just have to wait and see what happens...

Take care and do let me know how you get on.





Radiotherapy Side Effects

6 Apr 2015 11:57 in response to susu

susu and marcraff

good luck with you treatments and wish you all the best

The only thing i would advise is that if you ae like me and have to drive to work, be very very careful. after a days works you will be surprise how tired you really are and thats not a good situation when you are at the wheel of a car.

I did it and just about got through it but i phased myself back to work and did a mixture of shorter days, days when i worked from home and days off. 

I finished my treatment on 15th August i did not get back to work full time until November.

Its different for us all I i had throat cancer with Tomotherapy (30 session over 6 weeks) and 6 daily session of chemo.

I understand work is impotant but listen to you body

Radiotherapy Side Effects

10 Apr 2015 20:54 in response to Vatch
Hi folks, thanks for your helpful comments, had my 3rd session of radiotherapy today, so too early for any side effects, expecting the fatigue to kick in by week 3. I am using Diprobase cream that the hospital provided, which keeps the skin well moisturised, this should help the skin condition to withstand the radiotherapy. I will keep posting my updates, hoping that they may help anyone going through this like me. Upwards and onwards, Shirley

Radiotherapy Side Effects

11 Apr 2015 06:42 in response to marcraff

Hi Shirley,

Thanks so much for your post and good luck as you carry on with the sessions. I for one would certainly appreciate further posts from you as you progress. Not only for my own selfish reasons of knowing what I can possibly expect in a few weeks time when I start (!), but also to see how you are doing. I am very glad that it has started well for you and long may that continue. 

I was a little surprised though to see that you are having 5 weeks of treatment , I have assumed that I will be getting only 3 weeks worth but I guess I will know more on Monday when I go for my initial consultation.

I know we are always being told that everyone's case is is different and we should not compare notes but although I wouldn't wsh it on anyone I find it incredibly comforting to hear from others on here. Family, friends and colleagues are great support but unless you go through it yourself it can be difficult to really understand all the "fun" involved.

All the best and enjoy your weekend.

Susu x



Radiotherapy Side Effects

11 Apr 2015 17:28 in response to susu

hi Susu & Vatch,  when I had my original meeting with the surgeon, he said ithe radiotherapy would be 15 sessions over 3 weeks, then when I had my meeting with the oncologist he said that the studies he and his fellow oncologists opinion (from studies) was that 25 lower dose sessions over 5 weeks was the way to go.  Then when I met with the radiotherapy team, they said my treatment would be 15 sessions over 3 weeks, I questioned this quoting what the oncologist had recommended and the response was that a 3 week course allowed them to fit in more patients and prevent backlogs!!   I eventually got them to contact my oncologist for conformation, who again stated 25 sessions over 5 weeks.

What I have read about in studies is that there is no difference in outcome whether your treatment is either 3 or 5 weeks, but I think that getting a lesser dose over a longer time should be better for the body, rather than getting more over a shorter period but cant find any studies which states what is better for the patient!  anybody else have an opinion on this?

good luck for Monday


Radiotherapy Side Effects

11 Apr 2015 21:28 in response to marcraff

Hi Shirley,

Thank you so much for that, it is a great help and I have added this to my ever increasing list of questions for Monday...

All the various leaflets I have been given state 15 over 3 weeks but obviously do not mention that this is a time saving exercise.  My surgeon also quoted this timeframe but, like you, I want to have whatever treament works best for me, rather than the radiologists!

Thanks again,

Take care x


Radiotherapy Side Effects

11 Apr 2015 22:00 in response to susu

I was told the standard radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer was 15 sessions over 3 weeks.  I actually had the 3 weeks and one week booster.  I was told the booster gave my particular cancer additional security to prevent reocurrance.  I am also on the Fast Forward radiotherapy trial, they are testing giving one week intence raditiotherapy against the standard 3 weeks.  I was chosen to have the standard 3 weeks.

Hope things keep going well for you.


Radiotherapy Side Effects

11 Apr 2015 22:20 in response to puddles

Hi there,

Thank you for such a speedy reply, it really is so helpful to hear experiences first hand.

The leaflets are all very good at general information but knowing how individual people deal with all this helps so much more.

I will certainly ask about the booster sessions and see if they apply in my case.

I had two different types of cancer (one in each side) so had a "Buy One, Get One Free" deal going on and I don't know if that will make any difference to how they will plan the treatment. Guess I will find out shortly but, as I said, it is great to get real help from all the lovely people here.