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Radiation and the Immune System

Algernon
Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2008

I had 25 radiation treatments this summer and have recovered. But I have noticed with the cooler weather that I now contract colds, sinus infections, allergies and respiratory disorders more easily and that they appear to be more severe than usual.

Does anyone know anything about the effects of radiation on the Immune System?

JoeMac's picture
JoeMac
Posts: 77
Joined: Jun 2008

Aloha Algernon,
That is a difficult question with so many variables that a yes or no would be impossible give. You can ask that question at
http://www.yananow.net/
Many people vist there.
My back ground is radiation physics. There are few noted after effects of EBRT/IMRT if performed within the last 6 years. Prior to 7 years ago, there are a lot of after effects.
So much depends on the condition of your immune system. The radiation probably did affect you, but if your life style is not healthy, your immune system will let you down. The radiation treatment is probably just a coincidence with your increased suseptability. Anything, from what you eat, breath, smoke, drink, exercise, drugs (prescription or other wise), mental condition, who you come in contact with, can affect your immune system.
You should ask your doctor.
You should seek help from BHS, like seeing a therapist.
Have faith, hope, & love,
Joe 67 Hamakua Coast

Algernon
Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2008

Thank you for your input. I asked my Oncologist yesterday and he said that while the treatments, radiation and hormonal, might weaken the general system they do not necessiarily affect the Immune System. You are wise in saying that I need to develop a healthy lifestyle. I am planning to lose weight in 2009.

As an update, I have discovered that a lack of sleep can weaken the immune system so if I am getting up to urinate 4-5 times a night I am not really getting any good deep sleep. Also severe coughing from the flu and other complications {a rib injury sustained in a fall} have kept me from sleeping and this caused a downward "exhaustion" spiral. The weather here is experiencing 50 degree swings in daily temperatures and this does not help. But I am on the heal now, slowly. I need a couple of weeks in the tropics.

Thanks for the encouragement.

JoeMac's picture
JoeMac
Posts: 77
Joined: Jun 2008

Aloha Algernon,
It has been over two years since I presented to my PCP about getting up at night, 4-5 times, so two years with out sleep is a real bummer. Are you just having the urge to go, or are you voiding (like emtpy the bladder) each time? We found by accident that my anxiety levels were so high, I was limiting kidney function during the day, and at night when I relaxed to sleep, the kidney's would rampup production, and I would be voiding 200 to 300 cc every 1 to 1.5 hrs. No dream or healing sleep was possible. Even sleeping pills did not work ... mostly had to cut back on drinking water during the day.
JoeMac

Algernon
Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2008

JoeMac

Thank you for your wisdom. There are some psychological after-effects to the hormone treatments and I am learning to deal with that anxiety but the waterworks are getting better. I am on uroxatral for another two weeks and taking pain killers. The Oncologist told me that my last PSA was 0.2 and that my Prostate is shrinking. This is good news.

I have increased my water intake because of a chronic dehydration problem that could lead to kidney stones {I have had 5}. Also drinking more cranberry juices, chinese teas and natural diuretics help me void before going to bed. So now I get up once a night and this is a big improvement. I can actually sleep for five hours.

Be sure to stay hydrated because kidney problems can be very painful indeed.

Mahalo Brother...Algernon

Mum
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2009

I am glad I have found someone with same problem as me. After not getting colds for many years, since surgery and radiation for breast cancer, I get a cold every month over the winter months and they always end up with a cough. Coughing was something I never used to have either and also have friend with same.

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