4 Days of Radiation and I Find Out I Can't Expand Anymore. Can I Stop Radiation Now and Finish Expanding?

I had a double mastectomy On August 23 and decided against chemo . I went to radiation doctor and AND SINce I decided not to chemo he suggested we start in a week. No One told me I was going to be stuck with little to no boobs cause my plastic surgeon wont fill . Can I stop radiation after only having it four days and start the fills of expansion again. Please let me know .. Why doctors dont inform you of this down fall stumps me.. They go to medical school and I guess we are expected to

Doctor Answers 1

Stop Radiation Before Finishing Expanding #breastcancer

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I am sorry to hear that you feel misinformed so I will try to educate you here. In general the way we usually handle reconstruciton in patients who we know will have radiation and will be having tissue expanders placed is the following. The Plastic Surgeon will place the expander at the same time the mastectomy is performed. This can be done later as well but usually it is done as an immediate reconstruction. The patient is then allowed several weeks to heal and the expansion begins. Normally I expand patients during chemotherapy and that is enough time for full expansion to occur. Once chemotherapy is over the patient then has mapping for the radiation and is radiated. I make patients wait for 6 months following the last day of radiation to see how the skin will recover and to allow better peripheral blood supply to regenerate after being damaged by the radiation. Some patients may then go on to have an implant placed with removal of the tissue expander and some will have badly damaged skin which would necessitate a latissimus muscle flap with an new expander. In your situation since you have only had a few treatments you could stop and be expanded. However, it will likely take 6-8 weeks to expand you and my guess is that you have chosen to not have chemotherapy and your doctors will want to have you treated sooner rather than later to control the tumor cells locally with radiation. This is an issue you need to address with your radiation oncologist and cancer team. Your situation is a little different so talk to your team and come up with a plan that will treat you the best. Remember, getting rid of your cancer is first and foremost. Reconstruction can always be done in some manner at any stage of the game once the doctors feel your cancer has been treated first. Reconstruction, while extremely important is the least important part of the equation. Ridding your body of the cancer is the primary focus!!!

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