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How long is too long to wait?

Posted by


I have Inflammatory Breast Cancer stage 3c, I initially had 6 months of chemo followed by a MR mastectomy on 11 Oct with full axillary lymph node removal. Pathology showed that, despite the 6 months chemo, they removed a 3cm tumour & 23/26 malignant lymph nodes. I have been waiting for radiotherapy to start ever since. I have already started on 3 weekly Herceptin injections plus daily Letrozole tablets. 

My question is - how long should I be waiting after mastectomy for radiothetapy to begin? It’s now just over 3 months since I had my op & I think this is too long to wait, especially when I have an aggressive cancer! I’m starting to fret about a recurrence! Thank you! Shaz

Kate C - Macmillan
Posted by


Thanks for your query.  I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis - it sounds like you've had a roller-coaster ride over the past few months. 

There are guidelines within England about time scales between surgery and radiotherapy but not in the rest of the UK. Generally, radiotherapy should start within a few weeks of surgery but this is dependent on healing after surgery, infections related to chemo etc so it can vary from person to person.   I completely understand that you are concerned given the aggressive nature of your cancer, and as it is causing you to fret, I would definitely chase it up with your breast care nurse or oncologist.  If you have recovered well from chemo and have had no healing issues following your mastectomy, I would have expected you to have had your planning scan by now at the very least. 

Do chase this up, at least to put your mind at rest if nothing else. 

Best wishes, 


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