Radiotherapy versus surgery for infected underarm lymph node

Hi everyone. This is my first post and wondered if I could ask for your views on the following. I have had a lumpectomy with sentinel node biopsy which came back positive with Grade 2 cancer. My team have recommended radiotherapy for the breast plus hormone treatment (oestrogen positive receptor cancer). They have basically offered me the choice of radiotherapy or surgery to deal with all the remaining lymph nodes and said it is my choice as to which route to follow. They say I am suitable for both treatments and in their opinion both offer very similar outcomes and side effects. I quite simply don’t know which option to go for!! Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks C x

  • Hi Chrissie10

    Personally I would go for the radiotherapy rather than the surgery as it's less invasive. I'm having radiotherapy at the moment and I'm having no problems apart from fatigue from it.

    Wishing you the best of luck with whatever treatment option you do decide to go for.

    Best wishes

    Daisy53 x

  • Hi

    They do give you a long list of possible side effects with radiotherapy (which freaked me out! - especially as I was LHS and couldn't do the breathe technique due to an existing injury to one of my arms, so was worried about my heart).  I was perfectly ok and 4 years later no side effects whatsoever.  I had a small amount of burning, but this quickly healed.  As surgery is more invasive and if they remove all your lymph nodes, then you are far more at risk of lymphedema, than having had your sentinel lymph nodes removed.  

    Not medically qualified at all, so don't take this as anything other than my own thoughts - if  lymph nodes were removed IF cancer returned ever in the future, the lymph nodes wouldn't be there to 'catch' the stray cells which is what they seem to do, rather than allowing it to spread further.  If you have radiotherapy, I gather it's only able to be had once on the affected side.

    My own feelings if given the option would be the same as  and Daisy53 - radiotherapy fatigue....... drink, drink, drink!!! More than you ever think you would in your life.  4 of us went at the same time each day for our radio.  2 of us who drank lots were ok for fatigue - the other 2 ladies were really suffering and they didn't drink much at all.  The one biggest tip I can give anyone with radio is drink and don't worry about how many times you need the loo, it really does help.  (I had about 4- 4.5 litres each day)

    Best wishes, Lesley

  • Hi Lesley and Daisy. Thanks very much for your replies. Really appreciate your thoughts. I am so torn as to which way to go. I was leaning towards surgery as

    a, it will happen within two weeks and

    b, I will get actual physical proof of how much more cancer I have (or not!!)

    I agree though the invasive nature of surgery does not appeal one bit but the potential side effects from radiotherapy frightens me as well Weary

    chrissie