In some ways. During radiation therapy, your skin is more fragile and may develop blisters. When skin is broken like this, it is easier for bacteria to cause infection. After radiation therapy, the lymphatic vessels in your breast tissue may be altered. This can increase your risk of developing an infection in your breast, armpit or arm.
No. Radiation to the breast will have little to no effect on the immune system as very little bone marrow is exposed. You have little higher risk of getting the flu or other infection. That said in unusual and rare cases I have seen mastitis which is an infection treated by antibiotics.
Varies. In the post-operative period you are at risk of having infections in your wounds. Long-term the radiation will not increase your risk of infection.
Yes. Fortunately yes :). We often recommend to wait several months before reconstruction and implants.
Yes, but. Although you can get implants after breast cancer and radiation, the results may be unpredictable. Radiation may cause some soft tissue fibrosis which may not allow the skin to stretch reliably. Although some people are fine with radiation, I think they tend to be the exception rather than the norm.
Yes...BUT. Radiation causes irreversible damage to the skin that actually worsens over time. This can cause the skin over the implant to break down and expose the implant. Many post-radiation implant reconstructions are done in conjunction with a flap of skin from the back for added safety. A skin flap from the abdomen without implants avoids these risks, and arguably offers better long-term aesthetics.
Possibly. You would best discuss this with the plastic surgeon and radiatin oncologist before assuming that you can.
Yes, but. Radiated skin sometimes doesn't give like non radiated skin, so although it may be possible, there are other options such as using your own tissue that you should consider as well.
Yes. Yes, you can still get breast implants after having breast cancer and radiation. It's recommended to wait several months after breast reconstruction to consider breast implants.
No. There is nothing unique about breast cancer that would make you more prone to sepsis. Hoiwever, chemotherapy does temporarily affect your response to infection; if you are receiving chemotherapy at present, the answer would be "yes".
Chemo? Yes. If you are currently undergoing chemotherapy, this is a possibility. Chemo kills cancer cells but also weakens the immune system, which protects us from germs and bacterial infections. Be sure to keep track of your surroundings take take precautions to not expose yourself to others that are sick.
Could my immune system still be compromised 2 years after chemo and radiation for stage 1 breast cancer? I seem to get sick a lot now.
Possible. Talking about immune suppression is difficult because there are so many different mechanisms that can become impaired. Would go back to your oncologist and discuss your concerns. There are a variety of tests which can be done.
Not likely. Your immune system should have recovered in this interval. It is appropriate to have an evaluation by your physician to see what may be contributing to your problem of frequent illness.
See you doc. It is possible. You should discuss your concerns with your treating oncologist.