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Jan 31, 2013 11:31AM
On the flip side of your question, I declined rads 5 years ago and have no regrets. I was in the grey area, and after consulting with 2 rad oncs and reading a lot in medical journals, I declined. This is what I just posted on the thread entitled Electing to do or not do radiation if in "grey area:
I also fell into a grey area - one positive node but with no extra nodal extension, Grade 3 tumor, excellent margins. There was no question about chemo - I definitely had to do that one. Rads was different - I was in that dreaded grey area. I went to 2 consults with different rad oncs, and also did a lot of research on my own in medical journals. I was discussing all this with the one rad onc I really liked and asked if she could give me some figures. She told me that of women with my same status, 90% are radiated for no reason. 85% will not recur, rads or no. 5% will recur, rads or no. Therefore, there was only a 10% chance that rads would benefit me.
After weighing all the pros and cons, the risks and benefits, I declined rads. One rad onc was very distressed and told me that I was making a mistake to decline rads. But this was also the same rad onc that never mentioned lympedema as a possible side effect of rads, and who wanted to do not only the chest and axilliary area, but also the nodes around the breastbone even though my tumor was on the outside upper quadrant, so I really didn't have faith in his pronouncements. The rad onc I liked said she was comfortable with whatever decision I made - she'd be comfortable if I opted for rads and comfortable if I declined. That was 5 years ago, and I'm still very comfortable with the decision I made. But each of us must make our own decisions, and gauge our own tolerance for risk v. benefit. What was the right decision for me might be the wrong decision for someone else.
I would get consults with a couple of rad oncs. Also, do research in credible sources, like medical journals. Then take a break of a couple of weeks (if time allows) and decide to not decide during that time. Set a date a few weeks into the future and tell yourself that you will not make a decision until that date. That will give your unconscious time to process everything you've learned. Make your decision on that chosen date. Revisit that decision in a week. If your gut is telling you that it's the right decision, then it's the right decision for you. In the end, all you can do is make the best decision you can with the info you have on hand. Once you've made the decision, don't look back. You've done all you can.
12/31/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-