• Can someone please tell me if Radiation is worse than Chemo? I did 12 ABVD and now I'm waiting to see if I have to do Radiation.

    Asked by TheEvilyn8 on Thursday, August 16, 2012

    Can someone please tell me if Radiation is worse than Chemo? I did 12 ABVD and now I'm waiting to see if I have to do Radiation.

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • CarolLHRN's Avatar

      I had radiation for a different diagnosis but it really wasn't that bad. The radiation itself is painless and it's very quick. It's the side effects that get you. And radiation is cumulative, meaning, the first week or so you might not notice anything but as time goes on, you will notice more side effects.

      Some people experience skin burns. I did not have any of that. I was tattooed to be lined up for radiation every day. At first I was overwhelmed with the idea of being tattooed. They are actually very tiny marks (only you will know they are there) and painless to get.

      I wish I could say more about radiation for your dx but I don't know. I am sure someone here will though! Good luck.

      about 8 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Chemo and radiation are totally apples and oranges. Side effects from chemo are usually more intense, and interfere more with normal day to day functioning. Radiation has fewer side effects that tend to be less limiting, but are more of a nuisance if they require travel every day.

      about 8 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN (Best Answer!)

      I have had chemo during two of my diagnosis, and radiation during two of them. Each time I can say I would take radiation two to one over chemo. It was that much easier for me. The first time radiation had very little effect on me, didn't slow me down at all. The last time was 3.5 years ago, it was different. I got severe sores in my mouth, skin got burned, actually I was almost black in the neck area where I was getting treated. And the dry mouth set in quickly, fatigue got to me after the 3rd week. Still, I would rather have it than chemo.

      I see your a hodgkin patient too, where are you going to get treated with radiation? Or do you know? I was treated from the lower chest up to my jaw area. Get your teeth all in good order and be super vigilent on cleaning, brushing, swishing water in your mouth. the radiation will nuke your saliva glands after a while if you get treated in the neck and jaw area. This leads to teeth problems. I am having to have all mine taken out. But, I have been treated twice in the neck and jaw, which is unusual.

      Best of luck to you, you will do fine in the radiation treatments!

      about 8 years ago
    • TheEvilyn8's Avatar

      I have my scans next week and I'm nervous. There are mixed answers on whether or not I will be a candidate for Radiation. On one hand they tell me it will increase my chances of no recurrence of HL but I also hear that it increases the risk of secondary cancers too. I will do whatever they recommend...LIFE is my choice...

      about 8 years ago
    • carolk2222's Avatar

      I had radiation 30 yrs ago. I think they do it a little differently now learning some of the harm it caused back then. I am 54 now but had radiation for hodgkins at 24. I had a mass in my chest. I had burns in my armpits and my throat got burned making it difficult to swallow. Not trying to scare you but it was painful, the burnt areas. I know though if I didn't have it though I would not be here today.
      I do now though have a rare side effect from the radiation. It is muscle deterioration in the area of treatment and dropped head syndrome from the muscle loss in my neck. I was my own pt advocate and found that out by googling "muscle deterioration post radiation" after it dawned on me that radiation after all of those years ago may have affected me. Come to find out it can happen 3-30 yrs later and the average is 17 yrs and very small % of pts have it. None of the doctors I saw had ever heard of it. Not even the radiation oncologist. Thank goodness for the internet. I can't be cured but at least I found answers to what was wrong with me. After printing off the articles and showing my doctors. having blood tests and MRI and EMG they concluded that is what is wrong with me.
      Also as drummerboy said, I have trouble with my teeth. I have a cavity just about every time I go to the dentist because the radiation hit my mouth too.
      If you have to do radiation do it. It is better than it was 30 yrs ago the oncologist told me. If it is a matter of kicking the hodgkins you have to do it for yourself.
      Best of luck to you.

      about 8 years ago
    • TheEvilyn8's Avatar

      Thank you to everyone who answered me. I'm a newbie here and honestly looking for comfort in your answers.
      @ Drummerboy - The location of Radiation would be Memorial Hermann in the Woodlands if I land up having to do it. Its convenient and close by. As far as I know my STERNUM is the area that will be radiated, perhaps my lungs if any has spread. I am doing my CT/PET next week and that will determine alot of things in my life. The only thing it will not change is my FIGHTS ON attitude. Regardless I will not give up!

      about 8 years ago
    • GregRx's Avatar

      I think this totally depends on your site of radiation. If it is localized on just an area where you may not have a bad experience, I think it would be better than chemo. I had the therapy on my neck and throat area down through my abdomen. Radiation FOR ME was worse than chemo. I couldn't eat much since my throat cells were gone from the radiation, ice cream felt like you were eating razor blades. My throat was dry, lacked saliva, and I lost 30+ pounds in just a month.

      Location of therapy to me would be the biggest indicator on how you may feel.

      about 8 years ago
    • rickaroo's Avatar

      I had radiation after ABVD as well. I did find that radiation caused some pretty intense back pain for me (in the general area where the tumor was). On the other hand, it was "easier" in that it was so much faster than the chemo. I didn't have symptoms other than the back pain. Everyone's experience is different & I hope good things for you! I hope that if you have to have it, you can go somewhere close to where you are so that the day to day travel isn't a problem.

      almost 8 years ago
    • chelspfeiffer's Avatar

      I had radiation to my chest and neck. The only side effects I remember having is an increase in heartburn and sunburn feeling. totally not that bad at all. oh yeah and wearing stickers, i had to wear stickers that marked the placement of my radiation.

      almost 8 years ago

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