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 Radiation Tips and Experiences
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Thursday, February 14, 2008 10:15 PM
Im on my second round in 10 years.There is really nothing to feel.Imaginary beams. Towards the end there could be some skin burning like a sunburn. I found udder cream and aloe to do the job.
I think a lot of the fear is psychological. You lay there expecting to feel something and there is nothing but BEEEEEEEP.5min later your out of there. Its just the daily grind of every day.The room is cold and your exposed.
I told my Rad Onc that I felt tired and sleepy after. He said its usually a psychological response. He said Im coming in after work, being exposed and in a cold room,expecting to feel something which I wont,so afterwards Ive worn myself out.He said your relying on a machine which is stressfull to some.
sig Jill
age 54
Dx98,Mast 12 pos nodes
Her- ER-pr-BRCA-
Stage iv bone mets 2003 rads to hip
chemo-A/C Xeloda,Zometa,Taxol. Taxotere
Spot liver and lung-gone
2008 met to subclav nodes-Rads
5/08 Taxotere
Taxols again,scalp mets
Liver,lung, lymph mets 2009
Testosterone ,Zometa-stable
Donna Roy

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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Friday, February 15, 2008 6:56 AM
Hi All,
I finished my rads in May '07 and I burned pretty bad.  I'm very fair, never been able to tan and I had had my masectomy so the boost was aimed for my incision scar.  So if and when any of you start to have issues with burning let me know because I pretty much went thru every product imaginable to get relief.  The bright side is the treatments do end and the healing begins right away.
Good luck to all and I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers!
dx 10-04-06 invasive ductal
8/44 lymph nodes positive
masectomy 10-12-06
chemo 11-14-06 to 02-20-07
radiation 03-28-07 to 05-11-07 badly burned
continuing clinical trial of Avastin, completed 12/27/07!
Tamoxifen started 03-20-07

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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Friday, February 15, 2008 6:59 AM
I am glad you started this...I am on radiation day #4 today.  Seems like only 1000 to go, but it's better than chemo so far!!
I look forward to reading and contributing to this thread!  Thanks!
Carol 47 in Florida
IDC Grade 2, Stage 2 8/22/07 Tumor 2.1 cm
ER+ PR+ Her2 NEG
Lumpectomy with ax node dissection 9/13/07
ONLY 1/33 nodes positive
4 AC started 10/8/07;4 Taxol started 12/3/07
Radiation done 3/27/08
Carepage: Carolspages.
Jennifer Mishe

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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Friday, February 15, 2008 7:55 AM
Congratulations on reaching yet another milestone in getting to the other side of treatment.  I had 32 treatments in 2005.  My radiation oncologists prescribed Radiacream, I know there was someone else on this board that loved the Radiagel.  They are both made by Carrington Labs and can be ordered off their website if they are not available at your local pharmacy.  They were over the counter, about $5 a tube but they were behind the pharmacy desk at the CVS next to my cancer center.  In my case radiation was an emotional nightmare. Because I had moved, my insurance was in the area I had moved from, about a 3 hr. drive.  I ended up staying with my daughter for 6 weeks and I would drive home after my treatment on Friday and drive back up to be there at 8:30 Monday morning.  I was one of those that got hit by really bad fatigue early on, I believe Tricia had a hard time with it also.  I agree about don't wear good bras, clothing etc as I did ruin a bra and white shirt with the markings. I wore my front close sports bra after that. I could not stand to go without a bra, any jiggle really hurt.  Because my appt. was early, I would shower in the morning, go directly to my appt., and slather on my cream afterwards in the dressing room.  One of the weekends I came home I forgot my cream at my daughters so I tried Aquafor and it didn't work for me, burned like crazy, never forgot my cream again. The things I want to advise about are the after treatment issues.  I was very prone to infections, developed asthma, have been continually anemic and still struggle with fatigue.  Things have improved because I have a really good PC who has listened to me and tried to offer solutions.  My radiation onc seems slightly defensive, wants to maintain that these things are nothing to do with the radiation, but my PC and gyn believe they do and from what I've seen on message boards, I think they are a lot more common than what the oncs want to admit. Also, as time goes on, don't freak about your lumpy bumpy breasts, radiation causes changes for up to 10 years and these can show up as lumps.  I've had one biopsied which proved to be radiation scar tissue.  It is just frustrating because now its hard to tell whats normal and what is not.  Also, during treatment, no matter how badly I felt fatigue wise, I walked at least a mile and pushed for 2 every day.  I also listened to my body and napped alot.  I do believe the walking helped tremendously.  Hope you all have smooth sailing through your treatments.  God bless.[sm=pals.gif]
lumpectomy 5/02/05
32 rad tx comp 7/07/05
comp. hysterectomy 4/04/06
Paducah, KY

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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Friday, February 15, 2008 8:01 AM
Okay guys...I'm just having my 1st appt. with my Radiology Oncologist on Tuesday the 19th....his office told me it would take 1-2 hrs. for the 1st visit...not sure what to expect...
I should be doing 30 treatments....
Are all the creams y'all are talking about over the counter?...
Susan Black, Kingwood, TX
DCIS 2/03 Rt.Mast.w/TramFlap
Rt.Brst Recurrence 6/4/07
IDC Stage 2, Grade 3
Lumpectomy 8/7/07
Chemo end 2/6/08
Rads:30 end 4/15/08
8/7 Port/out
Ruth Coates

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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Friday, February 15, 2008 8:26 AM
Hi there all,
With the first visit you get CT scan and they tally up all the areas to be radiated and map it out on you.  You may get tattoo pinpoints in specific places.  They make a form for your arms and head to keep you in the same position.  They ask a lot of questions about how your treatments went and the meds you are on now. 

Don't use regular creams OTC.  They have metals in them or oils which will enhance or interfere with the rads and burn you worse or not be effective at all.  Use only what they give you or pure aloe gel.  This is important!

Thos of you who can stand it, I would NOT wear abra at all! Period.  But then I am a double mast and don't care if people can see I have no shelf.  But comfort wise you need to be mindful of your skin and bras RUB!  NOTHING should rub or chafe this area or you will have problems guaranteed!  Just a caveat....

The old clothes idea is also good, in that something you don't mind getting stained in the inside,  it usually doesn't come through...

Good luck all. I tired halfway thru this and was exhausted when done, but it is doable, just tedious!  For burns think silvdene cream!
Love Ruth

Paw Paw MI 
6/06 IDC,7/06 IBC (Inflammatory BC) RT
2 lumpectomies still no clear margins
chemo 8/06-12/06 
Bilat mast 1/07
rads 2/07, arimidex 6 mos, 1/08 femara, 10/08 aromasin
6/10 tamoxifen, now Rheum Arthritis
Pet scan NED x3 yrs

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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Friday, February 15, 2008 8:26 AM
Radiation is going to be different for everyone.  Not all of you will have the  same reactions, some of course will be worse than others.  Just remember all can be dealt with.  Stay on alert for all symptoms.  The redness and heat can be tolerated with a saline soak.  The exhaustion, take a nap.  Try to eat healthily:  lots of protein and fruit and veggies.  Women who are  overweight or who have large breasts may in fact have more problems, just remember to stay on top of all problems and bring them to the attention of your care givers as they can best prescribe remedies for your particular situation.  My rad. onc. showed be exactly how she was going to treat me with all the pictures from my ct. Hopefully your rad onc will be as attentive as mine was.  They really do try to miss your heart and lungs, but sometimes that can be a problem.  The treatments were pretty much a piece of cake, it was the aftereffects that were bad, but also manageable.  This is just one more step on the road to NED.  Good luck to all of you. 
Springboro Oh.
June 07 @58
1.3 cm invasive lobular er+ pr+ Her2/Neu - lumpectomy,sentinel node neg., radiation femara, moved on to aromasin

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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Friday, February 15, 2008 9:15 AM
The cream I was told to use is It was behind the counter at the pharmacy at the hospital I go to for treatment and is not cheap. also available online.
Diagnosed 05/2007, Stage IIA, 1.4cm tumor, ER/PR+, Her2-, lumpectomy, chemo and rads.
1981 Thyroid cancer
Otherwise I am consider myself a professional patient who feels as healthy as a horse on the way to the glue factory as I cope with all my other medical maladies
Alison Irwin

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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Friday, February 15, 2008 9:52 AM
My best radiation tip:
Seriously caffeine was my best friend during radiation.  I didn't miss a single day of work and did radiation on my lunch break.  The caffeine was a godsend!
Alison, 45. Woodland, WA.
DX 08/14/06, Left Mast, Nodes13-/1+, 4-AC/1-Taxol/3-Taxotere, Rads, BRCA neg.,Tram flap. Medullary carcinoma, triple negative.

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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Friday, February 15, 2008 10:52 AM
Sounds like we are off to a good start here. THANKS ALL. I would like to comment on a few of the suggestions made here and also post again what all my rad. onc. told me COULD happen.
First of all, from lots of others going through radiation during this past 10 months I have been around these boards, I went and purchased cheap t-shirts as bra substitutes for radiation. I remembered about the dye getting on the clothes and how the gels and creams can soak into the contact clothing. I found the cheap shirts at Big Lots, two to a pack for about $8.00. I can use them for this and throw them away if they won't clean up to suit me. Since I have only "one girl" I just wear big shirts over the t-shirts so no one can tell I am braless. I guess the lopsided still is obvious, but I have learned to live with it (something I thought I would not be able to accomplish).
Twice, my rad. onc. went over the side effects with me. I certainly hope I remember them all right now. First, and at the top of the list was fatigue. He just told me to listen to my body and when it said to nap. He said weight loss was rather common as often people lose their appetite...ok...good diet plan for me. He says getting pink, then red, then brown and oozing was possible for me, since he feels it will take that much radiation to benefit me. He said my ribs on the right side (radiated side) will get weak/brittle. He told me to avoid car accidents, as the air bag could break some ribs for up to two years. (Don't think anyone plans this little event). I ASKED him about lung damage. He says NO, but I KNOW it has happened to others here, I have read it, so we will see. Of course, he HAD to tell me that radiation can cause cancer. I am sure the law makes them tell this, as chemo can also do this. I have 10 tattoos, so they will not be drawing on me anymore. They line me up with the tattoo marks, so I won't have to deal with the ink issues that some do.
My first visit for simulation took an hour and one half. He drew all over me and made x-rays with the simulation machine. We then went to the CT scan, where he used wire to outline the radiation area. Before I left he placed glue in 5 spots, drew black X's and then put clear stickers over them. I was instructed to make sure these stayed in place until my next visit, or it would all have to be redone. I was instructed to have my back to the shower water, no soap on them, etc. I had to go back 4 days later to have one redone. My bra was rubbing it and made it loose, so I began wearing my t-shirts. The second visit, was more drawing, more precise this time, and then my lovely tattoo marks. They made actual photographs of the area to be radiated and also pictures of this "mystery rash" I have. This second visit took an hour. My third and final visit before I actually begin the treatments, took about 20 minutes. They actually took me into the radiation room and lined up the machine that will actually radiate me. They took more x-rays. Then the nurse gave me the perscription for the BIAFINE cream that I am to use as a preventative measure for burning. It is to postpone the burn for as far into the future as possible. NO DEODERANTS with aluminum...that is a no no. No rubbing in the shower or with a towel in the radiated area. I will see a nurse and the rad. onc. on Monday after my first treatment. I will then see a nurse and the rad. onc. once a week until I finish.
I really fear this lung issue. I had plurisy (sp?) at age 12. Bronchitis twice a year that eventually lead to pnemonia twice a year, until the pnemonia shot came out...what a life saver for me. I am being radiated on the same side as I had the plurisy. They are radiating up to my neck, I have the tattoo to prove it, so as to get the lymph nodes above my collar bone. My tumor was so high in my breast, the rad. onc. says it needs to be done. Since no lymph nodes were removed under my arm, he is getting that area too, along with the nodes between my breasts and all the way down to where my drains exited my body. Basically, the whole right side rib area and my neck. For those that know me here and have kept up with all my ODD troubles, I think I am about due something EASY and I sure hope radiation is it. HUGS.
Susan in TN
dx 3/05/07
IDC 3 cm.,10% DCIS/Stage IIB/T2/G2
6/9 + lymph nodes
ER+ 90%/ PR-/ HER2-
Simple rt. mast.
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