• what to except with radiation? i'm really scared

    Asked by toverway on Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    what to except with radiation? i'm really scared

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      For me, radiation was the easiest part of treatment. If you are having daily radiation, the inconvenience is a bit of nuisance but you get use to it. Hopefully some other thyroid cancer survivors will respond to you. as the effects of radiation on the thyroid may be different.

      almost 4 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar
    • carm's Avatar

      Toverway, hello...I am an oncology/end of life nurse and Nancyjac is correct, it will be the easiest part of your treatment. On your first visit to radiation, you will be marked or SIM'd so that they will know the exact spot to radiate you. There are three types of radiation, fractionated, SRS, and brachytherapy. Fractionated radiation is external beam radiation which is a dose of radiation given in sequence over a course of weeks, like monday thru friday for 5 weeks. This manner is given when the area radiated involves precious vessels or nerves or is in a spot that must be chipped away at little by little. SRS or steriotactic radiosurgery is when the dose is given all at once and is administered by special radiation equipment like gammaknife or cyberknife. With this you get all those doses all at once with pinpoint accuracy. Brachytherapy or seeded radiation is internal radiation that is given when radioactive seeds are placed inside the body at the site where therapy is needed. Most patients get the first kind, but either way this is a painless procedure. The radiation department will let you know what to expect and after the first session, the rest will be rather quick. This is nothing to fear, it is a painless process, just mundane. Best of luck to you, Carm.

      almost 4 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar

      Hi, toverway. I received radiation to the left side of my neck 5 days a week for 7 weeks, 20 minutes at a time, for a cancerous tumor on my tongue. The radiation left me extremely fatigued, and with an extremely dry mouth. I also have some swallowing problems. These side effects have stayed with me, but to a lesser extent.(that was about 14 months ago). Like it has been said, though, everyone reacts differently to radiation. My radiation was directed at my tongue, so it will probably be different with you getting it to your thyroid. Remember to stay rested and stay hydrated! The staff are very supportive and helpful and will answer your questions. Best of luck on your journey! Keep us posted!

      almost 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I have had to my head/neck/throat area twice in my life. First 24 years ago for hodgkins disease, then 4 years ago for head and neck cancer, *(tonsil) My biggest advice is to ask about the expected problems/after effects to your teeth due to radiation killing off saliva glands. Ask your oncologist if they even think this is possible. At the very least, go to your dentist and get all dental issues taken care of. My teeth started falling apart, brittle and now I have problems. Now, my cancer center recommends having all teeth pulled before treatment to prevent the problems.
      As for the Radiation itself, like nancy said it's the easiest part of the trip.

      almost 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      Feeling as you do, I posted a similar question about two weeks ago and received reassuring replies from 20+ people with many different types of cancer. I can't find my question now or I'd post a link to it for you. Perhaps it was deleted?

      Personally, I still haven't started radiation yet but I went through the planning CT scan and tattooing today. It was easy. Then, a nurse sat down with me and reviewed what to expect and answered my questions. I'm still a bit anxious about the side effects but the people on WhatNext helped me quite a bit.

      almost 4 years ago
    • emsavard's Avatar

      Are you having a radioactive iodine treatment or radiation? Usually thyroid cancer is treated with RAI after the body is suppressed into a hypo state and a Low Iodine diet is followed for a period of time. This causes any remaining thyroid cells to be starving for iodine and suck it up and are destroyed. If you have more questions send me a personal message and you all search radioactive iodine on my blog www.papillarythyroidcancerguide.com

      almost 4 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      I have been treated twice with radiation for Thyroid cancer. This is different than radiation for other cancers. You will probably be given 2 shots of Thyrogen a couple of days apart to repress any thyroid left in your body. Another way of doing this or in addition to this you may be on a low iodine diet to make sure that the radioactive iodine is taken up by the remaining thyroid cells before you are given the radioactive iodine.
      The radiation is given is what is essentially a water and iodine mixture (tastes like a slightly odd mineral water) that they give you in the hospital. They should be sending you home to stay with special instructions on how take care of your plates and silverware etc. You will be radioactive for a few days so you will have to be at home, away from pregnant women and small children. My husband had to sleep on the couch.
      MAKE SURE that you have sour candies on hand to keep your saliva glands active while doing this. Your saliva glands are in danger from this and you need to keep them working - suck lemons if you have to. You may feel slightly nauseous, but that has become less of an issue as they have gotten better at dosage.
      For a couple of months you will carry a document that explains your radiation, if you go through any security (airport etc) you could set off alarms). I hope this helps, It is actually a very easy process compared to other radiation but it is all scary, Cancer is scary - Take care, Tracy

      almost 4 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      I have to add more as an aside. When I first had radiation treatment in the mid 1970's it was experimental. This is just a comparison for you to see how it has changed... I was 15 years old, they gave me the iodine from a glass vial in a thick lead shield, then tested me with a geiger counter. They whisked me quickly to my room behind a lead shield with the nuclear warning signs on the door. I spent 3 days feeling like typhoid Mary - no one could be in my room for more than a couple minutes and the only TV was the republican national convention. Books were contaminated by me so not allowed and I was nauseous so not in the best mood. I couldn't leave until I tested OK by the geiger counter. We do not know the dosage I had because the records were destroyed. I do know that I was not expected to live past 18 and I certainly beat that one ;-)
      You will do fine, you will need to keep up on regular testing in the future because it can come back but it is not as bad as some cancers can be. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or just want to talk - Tracy

      almost 4 years ago
    • ConnieB's Avatar

      I didn't experience much from cancer except I had denser skin and a sunburn effect. It wasn't too bad.

      almost 4 years ago

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