“Who decides how many treatments a patient needs?” I asked Dr. G in our weekly meeting. He had told me early on that my series would include 28 of one kind of “dose” and five of another. But how were those numbers arrived at?
What I like about Dr. G is that he takes my questions seriously and spends time to answer them. In this case, my treatment was based on studies of breast cancer and radiation over the years that eventually created this benchmark. In many women my age, the usual treatment is only 28 sessions. The five extra provide a “booster” when the patient’s cancer was particularly aggressive. Apparently mine was, since I’m in for the entire 33.
The other thing we discussed is that there is no way of knowing if radiation worked or not. I could live five years more without it, or I could live five years more because of it. But since these two courses of action are mutually exclusive, the impact on my future is unknowable.
Does that make me wish I’d not done the radiation? Not really. It was manageable and reasonable. Besides, who would be the parking permit police person if I hadn’t shown up?