Radiation Versus Chemotherapy

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Radiation Versus Chemotherapy

by Marilyn_L_1 on Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:00 AM

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Can you have radiation BEFORE chemo? My oncologist says if you have radiation, you may NEVER have chemo - EVER! I am confused. I had a Segmental Mastectomy on September 11. Result: removal of 1-1/2 cm aggressive tumor, 12 lymph nodes negatives, ER positive, Stage 1, Grade 1. Oncologist recommended 7 months of chemo, 5 years of tamoxifen, and after that, radiation. When I asked about radiation only, he ushered my husband and me out of his office (he is the head of a major cancer center in Phoenix). We were stunned. Help please! Marilyn L.

RE: Radiation Versus Chemotherapy

by Joycetirro on Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:00 AM

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Hi Marilyn, My husband is being treated at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Penna. He has colon cancer and was treated with radiation and chemo at the same time before his surgery and only chemo after surgery. Very effective. If you feel the need to ask strangers for help, I think you should be looking for a new doctor. There really are nice ones out there who never say never. Good luck and keep in touch.

RE: Radiation Versus Chemotherapy

by Cancercompass on Tue Nov 20, 2001 12:00 AM

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A red flag should go up whenever a health care professional "ushers" you out of the office because you asked a question. It is vital that you and your doctor have good communication because you need to feel comfortable asking questions and need to have things explained to you in a non-threatening way. Cancer patients are stressed out enough as it is! Only a medical or radiation oncologist can answer your question about whether or not you can have radiation only for your cancer type. Please seek a second opinion for your treatment option questions. Good luck, Kim Dalzell, PhD, RD, LD Program Director, Holistic Nutrition Services Cancer Resource Center

Radiation and Chemotherapy

by Donna_R on Tue May 21, 2002 12:00 AM

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I had radiation for 6 1/2 weeks and it really wasn't bad at all. My skin got a little burn that was like a mild sunburn and it got really itchy, but using aloe every day helped keep my skin pretty normal. Radiation is inconvenient because you have to go everyday (Monday through Friday) until you are done, but when it was over I sort of missed going everyday. The people I sat with and waited with everyday for my treatment became my new best friends and they were a great support group. The worst thing about radiation for me was that I couldn't wear deoderant under my left arm for 2 months. Some people get tired from it, but I was only tired for 1 week. I worked everyday and just left 10 min. early to make my treatment appointment and I was fine to go by myself. I feel fortunate that I did not have to have chemotherapy, but my 81 year old father went through it without too much trouble. He had a little less energy and a little less appetite, but he didn't get sick from it or even lose his hair. In my experience radiation and chemotherapy have come a long way. They are not as bad as they used to be years ago. I would certainly go through either one to fight cancer if I get it again.

RE: Radiation and Chemotherapy

by Viviene_W on Mon Apr 07, 2003 12:00 AM

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Hi, We just found out that my friend has throat cancer it is in the early stage and he choose to get radiation. We want to know what to expect when he starts.

RE: RE: Radiation and Chemotherapy

by Donna_R on Tue Apr 08, 2003 12:00 AM

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Hi Viviene, When I had radiation, the first thing I had was a simulation. This is where they measured out the area they would radiate. They made three small tattoo marks (little blue dots) to mark off the area that would have the treatment. Maybe they wouldn't do the permanent dots on your friend since they would show. (I had breast cancer.) But if they do, they are barely noticeable and it shows drs. where you had the treatment before because they can't do a series of radiation treatments more than one time in the same area. My cancer came back 1 year after radiation and surgery, but they couldn't radiate me anymore. It damages tissue. (But now I have been cancer free for 2 years so don't think that radiation doesn't work. My dr. says I was an exception. Usually radiation kills the remaining cancer cells. My cancer that came back was non-invasive. He said without the radiation I may have had a more aggressive, invasive cancer return.) The day of the simulation they also made a form for me to lie in each time I took my radiation treatment. They called it a cradle. I laid on this thing and it filled with gel to the form of my body in the position I would be when I got treatments. After it formed the shape, it got hard and that's what I laid on each time I had a treatment. The treatments themselves were like nothing was happening. They line up the machine with your tattoo marks, leave the room, and turn on the machine. You don't feel anything. You don't have to hold your breath. You just have to lay still. Then they would come back in and aim the radiation on the same area at a different angle. You would think it was all fake since you feel nothing, but it must be some pretty powerful radiation because when they close the door to the room you are in, you notice the door is about 12 inches thick. After a couple weeks of radiation I started to get a "tan" where the radiation was hitting my skin. (At first it was a little pink like a mild sunburn but it eventually turned tan.) It stayed tan for over a year, but now I can't see it anymore. The last week of radiation I got a "boost"...a stronger dose of radiation right over my scar area for 3 days. (Most of my radiation covered half my chest.) Every week my dr. would have me get a blood test to make sure my (red?) blood cells weren't too low and it would be alright for me to continue the treatments. But my blood tests were always all right. If your friend is having chemo too, the combination of radiation and chemo can really tire you out, but I only got (really) tired for one week. I also had a cold at the time and between the radiation and cold I hardly had the energy to get off the couch. Good luck to your friend. Give her or him lots of support. He/she will need it. Cancer is a very scary experience. Donna

RE: Radiation Versus Chemotherapy

by Laceiris on Thu Dec 12, 2002 12:00 AM

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I have had 32 treatments of external radiation and two 72 hour treatments of internal radiation and two treatments of chemo. I have never heard of what you are stating. I have cervical cancer stage 2b. Love and Prayers, Anita

RE: RE: Radiation Versus Chemotherapy

by Lillian_D on Sun Dec 15, 2002 12:00 AM

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I'm writing to you because I see the danger signs. Don't stay with that doctor! Start looking now for another doctor and please when you find one make sure that your treatment is supplemented with emotional guidance and mental counseling. I have started a campaign to make people aware of the dangers of those things being ignored. I lost the man I love on Dec. 2 to lung cancer but I know it was not the cancer that killed him. He had an anxiety problem (who wouldn't?). The doctors ignored it until it was so bad he checked himself into the hospital. In the end he never came home. A week and a half of playing with his medicine mixing all kinds of medication - all of which caused his breathing to get worse. One and a half weeks of this until it killed him. Don't settle. If you are not satisfied move on to someone else! Please read my statement I have posted here on this site about patients' rights. You have them and no one can take them from you. Good luck and God bless you.

RE: RE: RE: Radiation Versus Chemotherapy

by Debbie_C_6 on Mon Feb 10, 2003 12:00 AM

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I agree you should find another doctor or at least get a second opinion. You are going through enough and you need to have faith in your doctor and your treatment to make it through. Good luck and God Bless, Debbie

RE: Radiation Versus Chemotherapy

by Lillian_D on Thu Feb 13, 2003 12:00 AM

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When that doctor escorted you out the door he was showing you exactly what to expect from him. If you have any doubts about treatments you’ve been offered you had better start looking somewhere else. Doctors like that can cost you your life. I suffered a devastating loss in December. The man I love and was going to marry died of what I know to be the treatment he did and didn't get. Oh they say it was lung cancer but I was there. I realized too late so many things. I have posted a message please read it. It is "Questions to ask and things you should know-I learned too late" Lillian
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