• Radiation

    Asked by Sparkplug on Tuesday, February 19, 2019

    Radiation

    Has anyone on here decided not to have radiation after chemo? I’ve been reading a lot about it and I’m scared of it hurting my heart and lung. Also lymphadema

    20 Answers from the Community

    20 answers
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      Hello, I am an oncology nurse and although I cannot tell you I have experienced radiotherapy first hand, I can tell you that the dose of radiation is calculated on the left side of the chest to a dose that minimizes the amount received by the heart, and the type of radiation to the left side of chest is a more precise type than what you would receive on the right side. I hope this eases your concern a bit.

      8 months ago
    • msesq's Avatar
      msesq

      I had hypofractionated radiation, increased dose less time, nearly 5 years ago with no lasting effects. The radiation oncologist made sure my heart and lungs were not exposed to radiation

      8 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      I didn't even think to be worried about radiation effecting my heart or lungs. I just did the 35 treatments because the doctor team recommended it. The only real side effect I had was fatigue.
      Are there other reasons you don't want this? Cost? How many treatments are recommended? Rides?
      I did mine after a rough time with chemo and it was a breeze compared to chemo. The main reason to do radiation is to kill any wild cells that may be lurking in the breast. It's like a little extra insurance that this beast is dead.
      I'm here six years lat we and I'm so happy that I did so I could to fight. I'm here enjoying my sweet granddaughters and loving life!
      Sometimes, too much research can be bad, too. Trust your doctors. They want what is the best possible outcome in your situation.

      8 months ago
    • Dltmoll's Avatar
      Dltmoll

      Mine was on my left side, so my doctor decided on hyperfractionated as well, and I was positioned face down, like they do for breast MRIs. A discussion with your doctor about options might help alleviate some of your anxiety. A second opinion might be helpful too.

      8 months ago
    • fiddler's Avatar
      fiddler

      I had 32 zaps on the right side following chemo and a partial mastectomy. there's some scarring on my lung, but it has not interfered with breathing and so far (6 years) there has been no abnormality shown on follow-up mammoes (and I've had many a/c calcifications).

      8 months ago
    • NeckCancer's Avatar
      NeckCancer

      I didn't have breast cancer mine was throat cancer, but I didn't think twice about not doing it. My team recommended it for the best outcome and I believe in their plan. There are risks associated with almost all types of treatments. I just assume that they are not going to affect me, it might be blind faith, but I prefer to take the road that has proven most effective before me.

      8 months ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      You are free to deny any and all treatment. But, if you do, please realize that relapse may be much more likely. The sad fact is that cancer become increasingly more difficult to eradicate with each relapse, as it is an "educated" cancer.

      8 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Sparkplug, remember, your doctor wouldn't recommend radiation if the value wasn't higher for treating your cancer than the chance of problems from side effects. You should tell him what you are worried about. He is the expert and also has your medical records, so you should ask him statistically to compare chances of your cancer returning WITH radiation versus chances of cancer returning WITHOUT radiation.

      i had radiation in 2003, and it's a breeze compared to chemo. The most problem you may have is skin redness that feels like a sunburn, but that doesn't start till about the half-way point. Don't plan to wear a bra while you have that. Your doctor will tell you which lotion to use, and will be available to you. Don't be shy about asking questions.

      I've never regretted having radiation---better safe than sorry!

      Best wishes.

      8 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      P.S. Cancer is a serious disease, so it's best to do what your doctor recommends. If you have financial or other concerns, there's lots of help, so let us know.

      8 months ago
    • Sparkplug's Avatar
      Sparkplug

      Thank you everyone. I’m a chicken over all of this. I didn’t want surgery, but it turned out just fine. Then I didn’t want chemo, but I didn’t want to die either. So I did the chemo. It turned out fine. I don’t want blood drawn from my veins because I don’t have any more to see but the nurse told me I have to to to prevent infection. I thought that was part of the reason to get a port. The last time I had blood drawn from my vein it took 3 nurses to find it. It’s been 7 months since then and I still have a bruise from it. Now the radiation. And I’m scared of it. I most certainly don’t act like a warrior. I just do what I have to do to live.

      8 months ago
    • Bug's Avatar
      Bug

      I didn't act like a warrior either. And that's okay. I did what I felt I needed to do and so are you. Actually, it sounds to me like you are being very brave. Very best wishes to you, Sparkplug.

      8 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Sparkplug, you don't have to be a warrior---you just need to "show up." It's like getting an X-ray, except you take off the gown. No feeling at all. You can do that! (You keep your pants on.) I think it just took 5-10 minutes.

      When I had my radiation, they used permanent ink markers to mark the outline of the area the doctor wanted to radiate. I've heard people say now they get tattoos----somebody else will have to explain that. When I had the ink marks, I had to darken them at home every day before they washed off, so I guess that's why some people get tattoos. So now you just need to schedule it and "show up"!!!

      If you're still anxious, tell your doctor, so they can reassure you and possibly give you medicine for anxiety. Let us know how it goes!

      P.S. They have problems getting blood from my veins, too! Somebody told me to drink extra water for at least a day or so before, and it would be easier to flow.

      8 months ago
    • Skyemberr's Avatar
      Skyemberr

      I did end up with damage to my heart and lung, but it halted a tumor from going directly into my heart. It was worth it to have that SBRT.

      I have had 29 doses of radiation to the backside for rectal cancer and that did not leave me with any lasting issues. I think it saved my quality of life by helping that tumor to shrink enough for them to take it out with enough room to preserve function.

      8 months ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar
      lynn1950

      I had radiation to my left side. I asked the radiation oncologist to show me on the computer screen exactly where the radiation was going and she showed me how it would be angled to miss most of my lung and heart. It was such a relief to have it shown and explained to me. That was ten years okay. My heart and lungs are fine!

      8 months ago
    • dmarussell's Avatar
      dmarussell

      I often did not feel like a "warrior" as many called me. That's okay....We need to allow ourselves to feel our own emotions...not the title others give us. I did get four tattoos, really tiny dots of ink, almost look like my freckles. I received 34 radiation treatments to the right breast, underarm for lymph nodes, along with radiation to lymph nodes near collar bone, down the middle of my chest, and the last six included my back. My radiation oncologist told me they would only radiate 80% of my nodes to protect my lungs. They do take care to do as little damage as possible.

      8 months ago
    • fluteplayer's Avatar
      fluteplayer

      I had chemo to my right breast and now have leaking valves and take lasic every day. Was never told about it possibly hurting your heart. Now hard to breathe I wish I had never had it as cancer came back 10 yrs later . Now stage 4 from 1

      8 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Fluteplayer, I'm sorry to hear that. Do you mind me asking if your radiation was done from each side of your breast, rather than from in front of your breast? Were your lymph nodes positive? I haven't heard of radiation on lymph nodes before. Best wishes.

      P.S. Many of us are Stage 4 still taking chemo.

      8 months ago
    • pianoplayer's Avatar
      pianoplayer

      my lymph notes were not cancer so only had radiation to the front. was told it was up to me if I wanted radiation or chemo. they said it would not come back if I did both. they lied as all through me in 10 yrs.Dr always said I was to healthy for it to come back so never ordered a test of any kind until my pcp dr. gave me a bone scan and thats how I found out it had spread to my bones. Then my now x dr.said lets order a scan to see where else it is. Scan showed lung also.Now stage 4 on Ibrance but blood is so low I can hardly get out of bed

      8 months ago
    • pianoplayer's Avatar
      pianoplayer

      fluteplayer and pianoplayer are the same person as different computer has me as pianoplayer. I use to play the flute till my lungs gave out and now only have the piano till my hands give out

      8 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Pianoplayer, be sure and stay in touch with your doctor if your blood is low, because that can be fixed with medicine or a blood transfusion, and its dangerous if it gets too low.

      Wishing you the Best.

      8 months ago

    Help the community by answering this question:

    Create an account to post your answer Already have an account? Sign in!

    By using WhatNext, you agree to our User Agreement, and Privacy Policy


    Read and answer more invasive (infiltrating) ductal carcinoma questions.  Also, don't forget to check out our Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcinoma page.