• Do you really need radiation?

    Asked by cher598 on Thursday, September 27, 2012

    Do you really need radiation?

    I am worried about the side effects of radiation--going back to mena pause is frightening--went through it for 10 years!

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Not to be short, but..If your doctor is prescribing it, YES. It isn't as bad maybe as what you could be thinking. In some cases radiation is all you can have, no chemo, so you definitely need it.

      I've been through radiation twice, two different cancers, and chemo twice for one cancer. If my dr. told me today I had to have it, I'd say when and where. It beats the alternative.

      If you have any questions about how it affects you, feels, etc. please ask, lot's of us have had it, LOTS of times.

      Hope your doing well!

      almost 8 years ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      I see that you are Stage 2 and you also are having chemo. The radiation is important, because it zaps any of those little cancer buggers not surgically removed and not destroyed by the chemo. The immediate side effects (chance of burns and fatigue) turn themselves around pretty quickly. Be sure and follow your RO's advice concerning lotions or creams to keep your skin in tip top shape. I hardly burned at all. I must say that the fatigue was tiresome, but something that was worth it. Long term side effects are very rare; they shouldn't stop you from having radiation. My RO showed me a computerized simulation of exactly where on my body the rays were going to hit. They can focus the rays to avoid your heart and lungs a lot of the time. This was true in my case. Get all the information you can about the procedure before you decide what you want to do.

      almost 8 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Radiation is a walk in the park compared to most breast cancer treatments. Radiation does not cause menopause symptoms.

      almost 8 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      As the others have said, radiation is easier than chemo....no association between radiation and menopause so no worries there.....I had rads following chemo based on the number of positive lymph nodes....Fatigue was the biggest side effect from radiation, but I was able to work through it.....If you are unsure, then get a 2nd opinion from another radiation oncologist...my med oncologist was 4+ lymph nodes and rads....All the best to you

      almost 8 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      I would say yes - but get a 2nd opinion. That's what I did, just hearing that it was the right course of action made me fell better. I love and trust my medical teams, but a little extra verification is priceless. I found the treatments very debilitating, I had the radiation treatment after my lumpectomy and was on Afintor, an oral chemo, for renal cell carcinoma at the time. Every one reacts differently to treatment. There was one women who was got her treatment as every morning at 7:30 and was leaving for work I when I got there at 9. All I wanted to do when I got home was sleep for the rest of the day. The treatment itself takes about 40 min from the time they call you to change and the time you can get dressed again. Interesting I did not get hot flashes from the radiation - the infusion treatment I'm on now, is making up for that.

      almost 8 years ago
    • lisaepstein's Avatar

      Radiation is no big deal!

      almost 8 years ago
    • StacyM's Avatar

      I had 33 radiation treatments following surgery and I will say it was not fun. I had to stay home from work after the 23rd one for 6 weeks until the burn was healed enough to wear pants and sit upright in a chair. BUT, I would do it again if my doctors felt it necessary. Other than the burn, I had trouble with constipation , had trouble sleeping, and still had my periods (which I was hoping would stop--just another mess to deal with on top of the radiation burn). I was already having mild hot flashes (45 yrs old), so couldn't even tell if the chemo was affecting me that way. Chemo is what stopped my cycle and I am still having mild hot flashes 3 months after finishing. Think about killing the cancer and not so much the side effects. Treatments affect everyone differently, but you need to kill those cancer cells.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Gena's Avatar

      I took radiation and chemo for Breast Cancer Stage I. I did not have any side effects from radiation except my breast tissue is more tight in that area. I had lumpectomy, chemo and radiation and my cancer came back 3 years later. Don't be looking back in 3 years and wishing you had done the radiation. Much less of a problem than cancer returning.

      almost 8 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      Hi Cher, I went through the same thought pattern as you are expressing here. I had surgery, and chemo and then was ready to be done. Then, since I had to stop chemo because of the side effects of Taxol, I decided the added insurance of radiation was going to be my next move. Now I've completed 19 of 28 treatments prescribed for me. I have to say except for about 2 days I have felt great. The only side effect I've had is a minor fatique. I do find getting to bed early and getting a full night sleep works fine. For the 2 days I mentioned, I had over extended myself with family events and just was too fatiqued. But, I have minor irritation and I'm almost done! only another week and 3 days to go! Don't be afraid of this, it is nothing after all you've been through. The added insurance is that it gets into the tissue where the cancer was and surrounding lymphs, chest wall, etc. I have no hot flashes or any pain to speak of. Only minor twitches in the area, sort of mini stabbings, very slight. Each treatment takes about 15 mins. You get mini tattoos on your first treatment date and they are just tiny freckles, didn't hurt at all and that helps them line up the correct spots each time. I have some itching that goes away after showering with Dove for sensitive skin (liquid). I am careful not to rub that area when drying off. But, this hasn't stopped me from doing Zumba 2 to 3 times a week and all ! I think it is worth it for the added insurance! I would follow whatever protocol is recommened.. there is such a good rate now I wouldn't chance not doing it. Best of luck!

      almost 8 years ago
    • Tania's Avatar

      Hi, cher598
      I am a breast cancer survior of 3 years. I had radiation for 6 weeks and I am now doing great. Comapred to other things radiation is not that bad. I personally if the docotor recommeded it I would do it. You do what you have to. Have faith and good luck. We are here for you. Keep me posted.
      Hugs, Tania from Miami, Florida

      almost 8 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar

      Compared to chemo, radiation was a piece of cake! It really was not a big deal at all, except for a burn the last couple weeks & some itching. It was doable and does not cause menopause symptoms! Aromatase Inhibitors cause some, but they aren't as bad as having cancer! Fight like a girl! Don't give up too soon & regret it later. You will sleep better knowing you did everything possible to save yourself. I know you are tired of all this Hon, but you can do this! Give yourself every chance to beat this crappy disease. Good luck!

      almost 8 years ago
    • cher598's Avatar

      Thank all of you for the answers--I made a mistake about the menapause--It comes from the hormone drug you take for 5 years--I have been taking it for 3 weeks so far ,so good--no side effects yet??--As for the radiation--I start that in a week or so.{operation sep 5}--I turned down kemo.--I did have a Gene test that showed my chances of it coming back were low.--1 to 18--good--mine was 6. Let you know how it all goes .

      almost 8 years ago

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