I have had a mastectomy following chemo.  I have just had a meeting with the surgeon and have been told I must take Anastrozole for 10 years.  I am also going to have at least 5 rounds of radiotherapy. Having been through so much already I don't know if I can bear any more side effects.  Surely if I am having regular checks I will know if cancer has returned and it can be treated then?  I am 68 years old.

  • Dear Fengirl2

    Thanks for getting in touch. My name is Adele, I’m one of the Cancer Information Nurses on the Macmillan Support Line.

    Welcome to the online community. I can see that you have joined the Macmillan Breast Cancer Forum and I hope that you have found this helpful and supportive.

    It sounds as though you have had a difficult time recently.  It can be very daunting to think about having further treatment and many people worry about side effects and how they will feel.

    There are a few things to consider when deciding whether to have treatment or not.

    Firstly, it is important to fully understand why they are recommending further treatment for you at this time.  In making treatment decisions it can be helpful to think about the aims of treatment and how successful they expect it to be.

    Anastrozole and radiotherapy are often given to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.  Your consultant can explain how likely it is that your cancer will return, both if you decide to have the treatment and if you decide against it.

    All cancer treatments have side-effects, but everyone is very different in how they feel on treatment.  No one can predict how you will be, or which side-effects you will get.  If there is a particular side-effect that worries you, I would suggest discussing this with your breast care nurse.

    Follow up varies between hospitals and it is important to know what your team would arrange, if you decide not to have further treatment.

    We would recommend that you have a conversation with your cancer team.  These questions to ask your health care team may help you when thinking about what to ask.

    Breast Cancer Now have a service called Someone like me, which you may also find supportive.

    It is important to remember that there is no right and wrong decision.  Some people prefer not to have treatment and that is OK.  The most important thing is ensuring you have enough information to help you decide.

    I hope this information is useful. Please don’t hesitate to get back in contact by email, webchat or phone, if you need further information or support.

    The Macmillan Support Line offers practical, clinical, financial and emotional support. You can call us free from landlines and from most mobile phone networks on 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week, 8am – 8pm.


    Best wishes, Adele

    Cancer Information Nurse Specialist 


    Ref AON/SMJ