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Radiation

keithkev
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2009

Hello All,

My 46 year old brother just had surgery to have cancer removed from his face. They removed the cancer entirely. He does not have to do any kemo. The radiologist does however want him to do radiation therapy(6 weeks of radiation)they are afraid that it will come back if he does not do the therapy. The side affects of the radiation that were explained to us seemed very harsh.
The oncologist will watch him every 6 months for the rest of his life to see if it does come back. We are trying to figure out if we should do the radiation or not. Any feed back would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Kevin

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Keith. I had Difuse large B-Cell Lymphoma in my face 6 years ago. From my sinus to my jaw bone. I also had an operation to remove a mass with tenticles. I cannot imagine any doctor telling someone they entirely got all the cancer. They can take the mass and margins of tissue around it but who knows where it is hiding. My cancer had entered the facial nerves and it can travel along bones in the face. I had CHOP+Rituxin chemo and 25 radiation treatments. Some people don't get a second chance at beating cancer so don't miss this first chance. Yes I have side effects and actually ended up on disability but I am alive. Right now staying alive is the priority. Best of luck to your brother. Slickwllly

keithkev
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2009

Hi Slickwilly,

Thank you for your reply. At this time we are not requiring any Chemo only Radiation is there any way to determine which one causes the worst side efeects in your opinion?

God Bless You.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I agree with slickwilly 100%. I had surgery for tongue/neck cancer, and this was followed immeidately by both chemotherapy and 33 of a scheduled 35 radiation treatments. Why? As slickwilly indicates, doctors cannot be certain that they got it all. Initially, any remaining cancer cells may yet be too small even to detect. For this reason, the follow-on treatment is highly encouraged, in order to get any 'strays'.

With cancer, I think it behooves us to follow the adage that 'tis better to be safe than sorry.

Best wishes to your brother and his family.

Take care,

Joe

RoseEm's picture
RoseEm
Posts: 32
Joined: Apr 2009

You can't be too rich or too safe from cancer.

denistd's picture
denistd
Posts: 481
Joined: Apr 2009

If the doctor feels that radiation is needed you need to do it. I don't think it comes down to what side effects are the worse, all of the side effects of this treatment are tough. I am in my second week of radiation and chemotherapy for cancer of the larynx. I will be having 3 rounds of chemo (already had one last week) and 35 radiation sessions. I am prepared for what's coming and believe I will come out of this tunnel. Certain chemo's can be treated with medication to lessen the side effects. Radiation effects are radiation, we know that radiation is not a good thing, except when it kills the cancer cells. Go for it, you and your brother will be glad you did. Denis

jkinobay's picture
jkinobay
Posts: 245
Joined: May 2007

That's what Barney Fyffe (sp?) used to say on the Andy Griffith Show, and it is absolutely the truth here. Your brother may have only one shot at this so they have to do all they can to nip it in the bud. If there is any doubt get a second opinion, but choose the medical team you trust and absolutely do everything they tell you exactly as they tell you.

Your brother is embarking on a fight for his life that will be very challenging. But, the great news is that with modern meds, technology, tests and treatments, there is a very good chance they caught this early enough to stop it in its tracks. No matter how rough it gets reassure him that there are a lot of us out here who went before him and will gladly attest that the fight is worth it and winnable.

I'll be praying for both of you. Please keep us informed of his progress.

JK
Tonsil/Lymph node squamous cell carcinoma 5/07
35 IMRT and 7 Chemo
18mos. post treatments and cancer free

jejrdn
Posts: 28
Joined: Jan 2009

I too suggest that your brother go with what the doctors recommend for treatment. It is better to go with any and all options now and hopefully beat this disease. This way he never has to second guess himself in the future and wish that he had done it. It is rough going through it now but unfortunately we all have to go through the bad to get to the good. I wish you and your brother the best of luck

Brian

SIRENAF42's picture
SIRENAF42
Posts: 204
Joined: Oct 2008

I underwent 35 sessions of radiation to my sinus cavity, right cheek, jaw and lymphs. Radiation was tolerable. I followed my dr recommendations to the T, used my sinus rinse, aquaphor on my skin, flouride treatments for my teeth, mouth wash rinse. Even had 3 teeth pulled before the treatments.

The side effects (loss of taste, dried mucous, loss of saliva, and sunburned type skin) were all worth it. I get to sit with my two kids every night at the dinner table, watch my son play baseball and tell my daughter to get out of my make up on a regular basis.

I still have some residual side effects, but 6 months since my last treatment, I do not regret the decision to have it. I to had surgery to remove the cancer but my Oncologist at MD Anderson felt that that just wasnt enough. I followed his advise and do not regret it at all.

You need to ignore the fear of side effects and listen to you drs. They have the experience and knowledge and will get your brother through it. One day at a time.

Sirens

keithkev
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2009

Hi All,

Thank you so much for your input. Keith just had a bone scan done and we are waiting results from that. He is still very concerned about doing Radiation therapy. Please keep your letters coming.

Thank you so much,

Kevin

train-nut
Posts: 101
Joined: Jun 2008

Kevin,

A true story for your brother's consideration: I considered not doing the radiation. My ENT doc (and others) strongly recommended I do it. I did. At almost the same time the same ENT doc had another patient with about the same cancer. Like me she had surgery. However, she declined radiation in spite of it being vigorously recommended. I'm here writing this, she's dead. Hope this helps; my best to your brother. Rich

keithkev
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2009

Rich,

Thank you!!!!

Kevin

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

I'm currently undergoing radiation - 5 days a week for 7 weeks plus chemo (surgery was not an option for me) for Squamous cell carcinoma of my larynx. I have never once questioned my doctors treatment decisions and have no regrets. As others have said, the treatment is rough but doable. Actually, both of my doctors are amazed at how well I am doing and how well I am handling the side effects.

You just have to learn to deal with the side effects and follow your doctors advice, believe me they know what they are talking about. The radiation treatments are painless and mine only last for 15 minutes a day. There are so many meds out there to help you through this and if one med isn't having the desired effects they will switch to another until they find the one that works. I've had mine switched 3 times and am now doing quite well.

In my opinion all cancer treatments are scary but not as scary as not doing them because you are worried about the side effects. May I suggest you talk to your doctors about your concerns, I'm sure they will be able to alleviate your fears.

Most importantly, not everyone gets all the side effects and for some they are quite mild. The end results are what matters, not the discomfort you may have for a few months.

Take care and let us know how you are doing.
Glenna

natessence
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2009

HI-
IM IN THE SAME BOAT....HAD FACAIL SURGURY TO REMOVE MALIGMENT ECCRINE SPIRADENOMA!
CANCER OF SWEAT GLAND,TUMOR ON FACE....THERE IS NO RESEARCH,NOT MANY CASES REPORTED.
SO RADATION IS RECOMMENDED. 61/2 WEEKS EVERYDAY. DID YOUR BROTHER DO IT? HOW IS IT GOING?
CAN ANYONE TELL ME SIDE EFFECTS TO FACE?? BURNT SKIN ,SCAR??ANY INFO WOULD BE GREATLY HELP!

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE TAMMIE

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