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Topic: Four days off rads for Thanksgiving

Forum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During, and After —

What to expect from treatment and ways to cope with side effects.

Posted on: Nov 26, 2019 08:14AM

WaterTower wrote:

Hi everybody, is this common to skip four days for this holiday? Not sure why they can't do it on Friday for those who are not leaving the area. I thought the whole idea was to keep zapping the cancer so it doesn't have time to heal. We did have a special Sunday session two days ago, but still have the four days off so it seems like the issue would be the same - it would start to heal. Or maybe I'm making that up and it doesn't heal that fast. (I have triple negative which "likes to come back" so I want to attack the little bugger ASAP.)

Dx 9/6/2019, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/25/2019 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast
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Nov 26, 2019 09:00AM Hopeful82014 wrote:

I've got news for you, Water Tower - breast cancer “likes to come back" no matter whether TN or ER+. It's in large part a question of what the time frame is for likely recurrence. There's a reason many of us have to continue to take medications for ten years and it's not because we enjoy popping pills

As to your radiation question, that's something you need to address with your treatment team.

Dx IDC
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Nov 26, 2019 09:17AM WaterTower wrote:

Whoa. I was just quoting word for word what my doc told me. They said that's because triple negative is _more_ aggressive than the others. And that's what the good websites say. Right? Glad you have a medication that will help with yours. If I there was one for early TN other than toxic chemo, maybe I'd take it. Meanwhile, just surgery and rads, and yep, I worry about the "time frame for likely recurrence." Obviously I'm going to ask my RO when I see her today. But why would she say anything other that, "It's fine"? It's what they're doing. She's not gonna say, "It's not ideal, so you could sue us later."

Reset: I was curious about whether it was normal for rad clinics to take four days off. If that's normal for some of you over this Thanksgiving, then perhaps I'd worry a little less. Only four days in with rads, worried and scared.

Dx 9/6/2019, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/25/2019 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast
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Nov 26, 2019 09:30AM Mouse57 wrote:

I haven't actually started my radiation - my first introductory appointment is later today - but when I was making the appointment they did mention they were closed thursday and friday. I am wondering how they handle Christmas and New Years since I might overlap with those. I plan to ask about that in my appointment.

- M

DX age 61, invasive micropapillary, Nottingham 6/9 (3+2+1), ER+(90%), PR+(98%), HER2-(IHC 2.1, FISH 1.3), Oncotype Score 4/100 Dx 9/18/2019, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/24/2019 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 1/6/2020 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Nov 26, 2019 09:33AM edj3 wrote:

Hi--I was able to get my rads going in time to be done before the 4th of July holiday. If I'd had to wait, my RO assured me that it would be fine. Yes, she said, getting it all done at once is the best practice. But there are people who have to take breaks because their skin can't take it or they get sick (not from rads, just normal sick) and it's fine.

But it's good to get that information straight from your RO's mouth. Cancer of any type is scary, and there are so many details to track down.

Dx 4/9/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Dx 5/6/2019, LCIS, Left, <1cm, 0/1 nodes Surgery 5/6/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 6/3/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/23/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Nov 26, 2019 09:40AM Hopeful82014 wrote:

Water Tower, I realize you may have been quoting your doctor. And I know plenty aboutt triple negative as well as about chemo. I also know way too many women who have have had metastatic recurrences 7, 10, 20 years after treatment and every last one of them have been ER+.

TN tends to get knocked out more thoroughly be chemo so once you reach the five year mark the risk of recurrence drops dramatically. The benefit of chemo for ER+ is not as predictable or extensive and the recurrence risk lingers for decades. For some of us, the ongoing treatment is not a matter of “maybe I’d take it” but rather ‘I have to take it.’ For many of us, that’s ON TOP OFchemo and targeted therapy.

As far as what your treatment team will tell you about the 4-day break, they may be able to explain the biology of the issue in such a way that you’ll be comfortable with the break and can even enjoy the holiday without worrying. If the answer doesn’t satisfy, keep pushing. It’s your body, your treatment and you are entitled to the answers you need.

Dx IDC
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Nov 26, 2019 10:19AM Ingerp wrote:

I guess I'm a *little* surprised at a four-day break. My treatment center sometimes opened over a weekend to accommodate holidays. That said, I'm sure your RO knows what he/she is doing. If it will give you some comfort, give them a call and express your concerns. I'm sure they'll explain why it's okay.

Dx 3/11/2016, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR- Surgery 3/23/2016 Lumpectomy Surgery 4/20/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/18/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 3/2/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 3/13/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Targeted Therapy 5/18/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 5/18/2018 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 8/20/2018 Whole-breast: Breast
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Nov 26, 2019 10:32AM - edited Nov 26, 2019 10:40AM by thisiknow

I anticipated having to possibly take off from radiation for a few days for good reason and my RO said I could skip one day or two at the max.... so that wasn't good news but fortunately I got thru all 4 weeks w/o having to leave so I feel very grateful for that.

WaterTower ...4 days seems a little much, but if they're not worried about it, I probably wouldn't be either. Good luck!

Age 72 @dx - Oncotype 4 & 15 Dx 7/14/2019, DCIS/IDC, Both breasts, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 9/9/2019 Lumpectomy: Left, Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/27/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/18/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 26, 2019 12:08PM - edited Nov 26, 2019 01:47PM by AnnC2019

Hi WaterTower

I have a four day break too and went in on Sunday. Honestly I was relieved but also wondered the same thing. I will ask when I go in today. I also started rads 9 weeks after surgery, which in hindsight seems like a long wait if there were rogue cells behind.

Dx 6/19/2019, ILC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 8/15/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 8/28/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Radiation Therapy 11/4/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Nov 26, 2019 12:19PM redhead403 wrote:

I wondered about that too. Not ok for the patient to skip. It is what it is

Dx 9/9/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 11/7/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 1/6/2020 Whole-breast: Breast
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Nov 26, 2019 01:25PM Spookiesmom wrote:

The first go round my skin broke, I had about 10 days off to heal. During those 32 sessions the machine went down once. Stuff happens, holidays happen. I was fine.

Reoccurrence 3-19. Dx IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3
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Nov 26, 2019 06:02PM BAMR wrote:

I started rads last week. This week, and Christmas week, they're closed 2 days. Also closed New Year's Day. My RO wants everyone to get at least 4 treatments a week so everyone had to have 2 treatments either Mon, Tues or Wed of this week. I had two today. They had to be 5 hours apart, so I went at 9:30 and 3:30. I'll have one more tomorrow then off until next Monday. This is how they've always done it.

Dx 4/4/2019, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 4/12/2019, ILC, Left, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 4/26/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 10/10/2019 Lumpectomy: Left, Right; Lymph node removal: Left, Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 11/18/2019 Whole-breast: Breast
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Nov 27, 2019 07:26AM gb2115 wrote:

I second the "it is what it is." There's not a lot you can do about. It's not like you can start your treatment somewhere, and then switch in the middle of treatment, and a RO isn't likely to open up the facility just for you if you demand treatment. I would not worry about and think about other things. My treatment was chopped up because of Christmas and New Year's, as well as a broken down machine once or twice. There was nothing I could do about it.

Dx IDC in October 2016, stage 2A, 1.2 cm ER/PR+ Her2-, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes. Mammaprint low risk luminal A, Lumpectomy + radiation + tamoxifen. Age 38 at diagnosis.
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Nov 27, 2019 07:30AM WaterTower wrote:

BAMR, thanks, that helps me understand why they added a Sunday session. My doc never explained yesterday why they did that, just said "It's fine" in her usual posture looking like she has to run off. I didn't know the followup question to ask, but you've answered it anyway. That means we get 4 rads this week, and then next week we'll have the usual 5. Interesting that you had to go twice in one day.

Thanks to all who responded about their schedules. Happy Thanksgiving, Americans and other feasters, and Happy Weekend to all.


Dx 9/6/2019, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/25/2019 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast
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Nov 27, 2019 10:19AM suzee30317 wrote:

Oh, I'm SO happy to have four whole days off. I absolutely understand your concern, but for me, exhausted and burned, it feels like a true vacation and time for my skin and my psyche to heal a little. This is the first time our center has done this protocol, to give both staff and patients a chance to enjoy the holiday. We also had Sunday 'on.'

Good luck with the rest of your sessions. I'm nearing the finishing, and counting down the days.

Dx 7/26/2019, LCIS/ILC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/18/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 11/5/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 1/1/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)

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