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finished chemo, not sure about doing radiation.....

Gloria C
Posts: 23
Joined: Jun 2009

I have Stage 3C Grade 4, clear cell uteran cancer. My oncologists say I have a 50% chance of survival of 2 yrs. Obviously, I dont want to be that statistic, however, if my time is short, my quality of life is a large consideration. I made it through chemo. I have alot of pain, fatique & a host of other symptons that they say may or may not be permanent. After some research, it appears that the radiation will diminish my quality of life even further....without adding any 'time'. It seems that if the organs aren't killed by the cancer, they will be killed by the radiation 'melting' them. Being incontinent, living in diapers or bagged up is not my idea of a decent quality of life.

So, for those of you who have done it....can you tell me your experiance with this?

deanna14
Posts: 733
Joined: Oct 2008

I was diagnosed with uterine papillary serous carcinoma Stage IIIC. I had 25 external pelvic radiation and 3 internal vaginal brachytherapy. I have had issues with urinary urgency and couple of episodes of incontinence, but only when I first wake in the mornin. And only a couple of times.I don't wear a diaper or anything equivalent to that. The episodes of incontinence were minor leaks that did not go all the way through my underwear.
Ultimately the decision is your. I had to know that I had done everything in my power to keep the cancer at bay.
Good luck and may God Bless you!

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

Dear Gloria,
Remember in that statistic that 50% survive. I think that is great compared to what the statistics were 40 yrs ago. Cancer is not a death sentence anymore. There is so much that can be done. I had 25 external beam to the abdomen for my uterine cancer after surgery and 3 internal brachy treatments to the vaginal cuff. Except for some unpleasant diarrhea (which a low fiber diet and Immodium helped a great deal) I am doing fine. My internal organs are fine. When I first was given the list of possible side effects of the radiation I remember thinking, what in the world have I gotten myself into??? But, I took it one day at a time, and dealt with each side effect as they occurred. Having a great gynecological radiation oncologist helped. I got a lot of support from the radiation team at the cancer center where I am being treated. Talk to your care team and maybe it will help with your fears about this part of the treatment.
Wishing you health and peace of mind. Norma

Ro10's picture
Ro10
Posts: 1362
Joined: Jan 2009

I was diagnosed with stage III-C UPSC in January 09, so like Deanna I wanted to do all I could to kill those cancer cells. I had the 6 chemo treatments and 28 external radiation treatments as well as an overnight stay in the hospital for internal radiation. My main side effects were nausea and fatigue. Both of which left after the treatments were over. I did not have the diarrhea or incontinence that some have experienced. It is your decision whether to do the radiation therapy or not. I hope you will talk to the radiation onocologist and express your concerns. Good luck with your decision. In peace and caring.

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

If you decide against the pelvic radiation, consider just doing the vaginal brachytherapy. There are different types of external radiation and the machines today are MUCH less likely to fry you than the machines they had even 5 years ago. Ask if they had IMRT extrenal radiation. It uses Ct-scan images and a computer to move a shield in and out over vulnerable uninvolved tissue and bones so that the radiation doesn't cause all that damage to cancer-free areas. It's worth travelling an hour or so to get IMRT radiation if you need whole abdominal or pelvic radiation, in my opinion. I had 28 rounds of it, plus 3 brachys. No big deal, no long-term side effects.

Northwoodsgirl
Posts: 201
Joined: Oct 2009

I have had radiation for my adenoendometrial cancer 2B. I also had 25 external and 3 brachytherapy (internal vaginal cuff). I think some of what you have read is based on the absolute worst case scenario.
Ask your radiation oncologist for the percentage of patients who likely have the side effect. You will likely find that the percentages are very small...less than 10% other than the fatigue. It is your decision but radiation is an important part of getting you to the 50% who survive! I too thought what the heck am I getting into when they review all the potential side effects. But went for it anyway.
I had some urinary urgency and frequency (manageable) which went away after therapy. I also had some diarrhea and urgency when I had a bowel movement ( also manageable).
Sure I know that I could get a secondary cancer from radiation or develop a fistula at some point but I wanted to fight my cancer with everything possible so I could be in the group that lives a long life...not 2 years.

TiggersDoBounce's picture
TiggersDoBounce
Posts: 413
Joined: Oct 2009

Gloria,

I had 35 External Radiation and am now doing 4 Brachytherapy treatments.

I am one of the few on this board who did have a strong reaction to the Radiation. I had the Chimney treatments....lower pelvic, abdominal and diaphragm area. My abdominal symptoms were not fun for about 4 weeks out of the 7. I had alot of Diarrhea despite whatever I ate and was plain uncomfortable. I never was out of work, I just tried to take each day at a time and knew that sometime it would be over. I have been thru that for 2 weeks now and each day gets better. The Diarrhea is gone, but my appetite and stomach tolerance is coming back slowly. I am doing small meals and am on my way back :)

Do whatever is best for your success...you can get thru it!!!

Laurie

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