first appointment at a specialist cancer hospital

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I had breast cancer surgery - lumpectomy-- 4 weeks ago, and have been told there was no spread to the lymph nodes. I had my surgery at a general hospital, but now have to go to a specialist cancer treatment hospital for the next stage. I feel nervous, because my only other experience of this place was to visit a friend with a terminal diagnosis on a ward where people were having excruciating chemotherapy. I know my situation is quite different, but having to go there brings back painful memories.

I have my first appointment with an oncologist tomorrow. I understand that this to find out more about my likely treatment regime.

Can I expect to be told at this appointment how many sessions of RT I am likely to have? how long was it before others had their planning appointment? how long was it before others started the radiotherapy proper.

Thanks for any info you can offer from your experience of RT

  • Hi Mondaymobster

    Welcome to the forum and sorry to hear that you have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I was diagnosed with Triple negative Breast Cancer last September and after Chemo and surgery at the end of March I’m due to start Radiotherapy next Monday.

    When I had my meeting I wasn’t told how many sessions of Radiotherapy by my Oncologist but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be and if not you can always ask them. I had my planning appointment about 5 or six weeks after my operation as far as I can remember.  I had a meeting with my radiotherapy oncologist about a week before that and he told me that I was to have 20 sessions of radiotherapy five days a week with a break on Saturdays and Sundays.

    I’ve had three planning sessions, the first one was a CT Scan of my chest and underarms so that they could place the tattoos which are permanent that show where to direct the radiotherapy.  They are very small and you’d hardly notice them. The second and third planning sessions were last week and they were under the radiotherapy machine again they were to plan the radiotherapy and the breath hold. My cancer was on my left hand side which is why I have to do the breath hold. The breath hold doesn’t last for long about five seconds or so.

    I’m sorry about your friend and that you found the oncology ward a scary place. While it’s not easy having chemo at times the oncology ward staff make you as comfortable as possible and they are very kind and helpful.

    Wishing you the best of luck with your appointment tomorrow and with your radiotherapy. I’m on this site every day and am here if you have any questions or just want to chat.

    Best wishes

    Daisy

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  • Hi Daisy

    thanks for your encouragement, quick reply and the info. I will need to do the breath hold thing too, as it was my left breast too where they found the cancer. It now seems that although they removed as much as possible and the lymph nodes are clear, one of the cancer margins was rather small, so I will be having 15 sessions of RT rather than the 5 I had anticipated, and in addition some "boosting" RT for a further 8 sessions. That all sounds a lot for a small tumour diagnosed early through routine screening, but I think I am prepared to take any treatment that reduces the possibility of recurrence

    Sounds you had really detailed careful planning slots, I was only expecting to have 1, but no doubt I will find out soon. Thanks for the heads up on the possibility of having more than one. This presumably depends on the details of the site etc. I gather the idea of careful planning is to minimise/exclude irradiating any part of the heart or lungs.

    Hope the RT goes well, feel free to tell it how it is if you need to. Do you have to travel far for the treatment? I have heard that this can add to the fatigue factor for people who've to get to another city. I am very fortunate to live within a short car ride or 45 mins walk of where I need to go.

    Best wishes

    Mondaymobster

  • Hi Mondaymobster

    Glad I could help. 

    I don’t have too far to travel for my radiotherapy. The hospital where I’m having it is only a ten minute drive away.

    Best wishes

    Daisy

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