• Is there any way to predict the side effects of radiation therapy?

    Asked by Suzy on Tuesday, January 31, 2012

    Is there any way to predict the side effects of radiation therapy?

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    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • CarolLHRN's Avatar

      I had radiation therapy for rectal cancer. Radiation is cumulative so at first, it's nothing. You lay on the table for 90 seconds and your done. I had a total of 28 treatments over 6 weeks. I started to feel the fatigue about 3 weeks in. I had some redness where I the radiation was being focused as well as hair loss in that area. My doctor was able to provide me creams for the redness that helped a lot. I had some GI symptoms but I think it was related to where I was being targeted. Most of the women I saw there for radiation for breast cancer, seemed to have few side effects and were working and being active through the treatment.

      Good luck to you. I kept a count down to get through it. It helped a lot. Also know, if you need a break because you are just too tired or sick, tell your doctor. They can give you a little break. You can do it!

      over 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I had radiation treatmen 23 years ago with no side effects, hardly, I did loose the hair in the back of my head where the radiation was hitting me, but other than that, I breezed through it. I told the Dr's and everyone else that would listen that I would take radiation 2 to 1 over chemo treatments. Well, then the last time, 2.5 years ago that I had radiation, it kicked me in the butt. One week and I was already getting dry mouth, sores in my mouth, a few weeks and I was taking a nap at 2.30 each day. I had a burned spot on my neck. Looked like I had bbq'd myself. So, I'd say the side effects are hard to predict accurately. At any rate, it's not as bad as chemo treatments.

      Good luck in what you have to do. Keep a positive attitude!

      over 4 years ago
    • TJM's Avatar

      I had radiation therapy for recurrent rectal cancer. No symptoms for 2 weeks. Thought it would be a piece of cake. At 12 days in the side effects hit like a ton of bricks. I didn't have diarreah but I couldn't hold stool so bowel movements were 15 to 20 times a day with increasing severe pain and tenesmus. Pain lasted for hours after bowel movement. I was taking 3,000 mgs of Zeloda at the same time. Rearend was extremely painful with at least 2nd degree like burns in the skin folds. Real nasty and totally exasperating. By the 3rd week I couldn't wipe and used water bottle and sits baths...they worked great! Aquaphor and Cottonelle wet wipes helped a lot. Finally they took me off the Zeloda when I was ready to quit and things went much better to the end. I'm 2 weeks from my 28th and last treatment and things are vastly improved. Some discomfort still but no more pain. Radiation is individual thing and affects people differently. I had few of the brochure side effects but more of the infrequently seen ones. Radiating the pelvis is tricky and fraught with complexities and surprises. Hang in there though because the body really wants to heal and if you treat it properly it will. Docs and nurses were very helpful so make sure you tell them EVERY symptom so they can help you. Good luck.

      over 4 years ago
    • TubThumping's Avatar

      I had 25 rounds of radiation Oct-Nov 2010 to the upper shoulder area. I was able work through most of it but in the end was ultra tired. I kept cream on my skin, front and back, but never thought to look at my armpit! About round 22 I started losing the skin under my armpit and that continued for about 5 days. I used Biofin on it, wore cotton undershirts and let 'the girls' be free. All in all I thought it wasn't awful.
      Then, eight months later I started having problems with my hand, dropping things, sloppy writing and then it got worse. Officially they say I have brachial plexopathy. The radiation damaged the brachial plexus nerve. It's a side affect that doesn't happen often but it is worth discussing with your radiation oncologist.

      over 4 years ago
    • happydad's Avatar

      I had stereotactic radiosurgery (targeted radiation) for two melanoma tumors in my brain in early January. One was in the right frontal lobe and the other in the PONS (central control for the brain). The neurosurgeon had a page long list of possible side effects. He basically told my wife to watch for stroke-like effects, but that the effects might show up until six to twelve months later, but to keep an eye on me for any signs. It is really just wait and see for me. I wish you the best.

      over 4 years ago
    • ARLIE2011's Avatar

      I started my 19 treatments of Whole Breast, 2 field confornal radiation with 2 boosts to my right breast on November 7,2011-December 2,2011. I was diagnosed with Stage I,infiltrating ductal carcinoma. I had a schedule I followed. I kept things simple. I had a time for everything, getting up and going to bed, my ride to my treatments and home. All my meals,snacks and bathtime,then to bed.I journalled alittle each night.I ate a very healthy diet all the time.It's my lifestyle now. I was positive much of the time.If I did'nt feel like it, I'd put a smile on my face anyway. I started losing my hair the first week which I called shedding.The healing of my underarm was the difficult part.But it healed in 10 days.I started Armidex on November 5. I have some chemo. brain but I keep active,pysically and mentally. I have had the support of a loving friend and my cat,Georgie,all threw it. Today I am Grateful to be a Survivor.

      over 4 years ago

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