Radiotherapy details

BravoBravo Member Posts: 55
i guess I could wait until I see the radiotherapy doctor to ask this question but, do the radiation rays go right through you or do they stop partway in ie at the site of the cancer? So if the cancer is in my breast will the radiation rays hit, for example, my lungs, spleen, back muscles, etc?



  • Brenda5Brenda5 Burrum Heads, QldMember Posts: 1,591
    I didn't have radiation but from others I think they can monitor the intensity and the depth of the rays. My sis in law did cop a bit on rib bones and the top of one lung but not too damaging and she is almost 20yrs cancer free now. She's getting older but she does still do veteran running competitions.
  • sandramjsandramj Worongary, Gold Coast, QldMember Posts: 119
    Hi Bravo,  This was the exact thing I was very concerned about.  YES there is a new method now called Breast Radiotherpay with Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) where we the patient hold our breath when told and hold it tell told to let go (20 seconds) and this means our lungs and hear are stretched longwise and also pulled away from the breast wall. here's a Wikipedia explanation. My oncologist confirmed my research that they do use it particularly with women with left breast cancer.  Its wonderful all the new research they are doing and have done bringing things like DIBH to us to lessen the damage to our organs.  Best of luck. I start radiation on 26/5.  for 30 sessions.   

  • ZoffielZoffiel Member Posts: 876

    That's what the CT scan is about--the mapping--before you start. They need to assess your body shape and get an idea about depth and access.  Different areas get different depths--if you are having your axillary lymph nodes zapped, for example, its a deep process as the area is thick. Boobs less so. There is always a bit of collateral damage. For example, I've got a high chance of burns top the top of my lung while they are targeting my sub clav nodes. There's also a bit more involvement with my spine and throat than is ideal, but it is not possible to avoid it because of the way I'm put together and the areas that need treating.

    If you are concerned get your rad onc to show you a picture of what is actually happening (available after your first treatment) and ask them to explain the peripheral damage--which is measured against known damaging doses.


  • BravoBravo Member Posts: 55
    Great info! Thanks. 
    I'm concerned about the impact on my skin as well. I have always had sensitive, pale, and thin skin. I can't use soaps or perfumes, no make-up ever, perfumed deodorants, shampoos etc. 
    Does anyone know if there is some dietary changes I can make to help the inevitable damage heal quicker?
  • melclaritymelclarity Member Posts: 2,422
    Bravo thats a good question, I had radio back in 2011 and a year later I would start cramping in the chest and in the back, it was weird and just comes on and goes as quick but it was due to rads. Unfortunately its worse now after having chemo in 2015 as that shrinks the sheath over the muscle so I have alot of trouble with back cramping, but all my stretching exercises help from my Exercise Physiologist. x Melinda
  • GlemmisGlemmis Member Posts: 204
    Hi @Bravo, I finished 25 rounds of radio a month ago & my fair skin was really good until the end & then it peeled & had painful spots which worsened over 2 weeks but fine now. I had to do the deep inspiration breathing because mine is the left side. My back above my shoulder blade was burnt & one of the therapists said it was from the rays penetrating deep.
  • NadiNadi Member Posts: 516
    Hi Bravo I am red haired and have extremely fair and sensitive skin. Had 30 rads session and was only red and slightly burnt towards the end. I found radiation so much easier than chemo although I did get an inflammed esophogus from the radiation. Everything cleared up in 2 weeks and no more problems.
  • fairydustfairydust Member Posts: 290
    @Bravo I had 25 sessions and only towards the end was there a problem I remembered talking to the radiation oncologist about skin reactions. She stated that some people with fair skin do just as well as people with say an olive skin. She stated it depended on each individual persons reaction. 
    So you may be lucky it is not inevitable you will have problems.
    Compared to chemo for me radiation was good though I did progress from sorbelen to burn cream. Healed well in a short time and glad it is all over
  • adeanadean Member Posts: 946
    Im 5 years post radiation. When they do the mapping the appropriate ammount is targeted and hence why they take a while to measure you if you havent had this yet make sure you take panadol or nuerofen on the day of measurement as tour back will ache. If your treatment is on your heart side they measure to protect it. My soreness is still there and takes many years to go in dome people. But my onco told me recently the benefits go on for a long time. You may be lucky to recieve the new treatment of 1 go with a baloon insertion do ask its very new. Adean xx
  • sandramjsandramj Worongary, Gold Coast, QldMember Posts: 119
    My oncologist radiotherapy lady gave me a list of items to purchase before radiation and included Fauldings "Essentials" Vitamin E Cream. $3.99 a 75g tube to carry in my handbag for use straight after each radiation session and a 300g jar ($10;49) for home as I will be using it four times a day ++. apparently.  Ive had the measure up and tattoo and have the test session tomorrow and will be using the deep breath technique due to LEFT LUNG AND HEART ISSUES and start on 30 sessions from Monday 29th May.  Im feeling very grateful I did not have to have chemotherapy and therefore happy to only need the radiation - I am not expecting any hassles - but if I get them I'll deal with them then.  Have a friend who had almost identical BC fifteen years ago and she had radiation at 7:30pm so wandered along after dinner had it and came home slipped into jamas and read or watched tv and had a good nights sleep giving her body the best chance to rest and heal after the treatment.  She's been clear ever since.  My oncology radiation dept close at 5:00pm but we are taking our caravan to the Broadwater Caravan Park for the first week to sit in the sun, walk, rest, lay about or do whatever or nothing and not have to look at housework garden jobs etc - forcing me to rest .  Can't say Im excited to do this but want to get on with killing these cancer cells FOR GOOD if possible.  :) :) 

  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 3,182
    Sounds like a plan and just fill your day with something you enjoy. I love reading in my caravan.. ..And going out for coffee.
  • BravoBravo Member Posts: 55
    Does the vitamin e cream affect the way the rays can enter your body?
  • Lmc1310Lmc1310 Central CoastMember Posts: 82
    What is the new radiation treatment please @adean
  • BravoBravo Member Posts: 55
    It is still in its infancy as a technique, Lmc1310. My surgeon said it would be only for particular patients and would deliver radiotherapy during the surgery. No operating theatres in Australia are set up for this, and it would be a huge cost to create or adapt theatres to accomodate the technology and all the technicians, as well as all that is usually found in an operating theatre.
  • BravoBravo Member Posts: 55
    Not that i would know what an operating theatre looks like. I had my eyes shut at the time.
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