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IMRT side effects related to pre-existing conditions/situations - might they be worse or more intense than would have been ?

hopeful111
Posts: 13
Joined: Nov 2010

Related to imrt/igrt treatments, if one has some pre-existing
conditions such as frequent urination (multiple times per night and also
some during the day - which Dr. says is overactive bladder)

or ibs with sometimes stomach upsets/pains and sometimes diarrhea
or close to it

---> would it be probable that with having imrt/igrt, that the person would more likely:

a. have the imrt related urinary and/or bowel/rectal side effects at all ?
(since not everyone has these side effects)

and/or

b. that those imrt caused urinary and/or bowel/rectal side effects would be worse than they would have been if the person hadn't had those problems in those areas already ?

Thanks.

Kongo's picture
Kongo
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

Hi, hopeful111,

From what I have read and what my radiologists have told me is that men who have urinary issues prior to radiation treatment will likely have them following treatment and in some cases the near term result is a worsening of the condition but it varies with each individual and really depends upon the root cause of the problem.

For example, if frequent urination is caused by BPH (the swelling of the prostate by benign prostate tissue) the increased inflammation in the prostate may cause a near term increase in these symptoms. The urethra itself, that tube which runs from your bladder through the prostate to the penis, is fairly tough and quite resistant to radiation effects but the swelling around the urethra caused by radiation could increase the urgency. If the frequent urination was caused by say a UTI, VD, or some other physical condition associated with the bladder I think the radiation would probably have no effect on the severity of the symptoms.

IBS is a slightly different animal. I'm not sure doctors know exactly what causes IBS but it appears to be closely related to diet and stress and IBS does not seem to cause any long term damage to the intestines or colon, although some of the symptoms of IBS are the same as colon cancer and one would likely want to rule that out, particularly if weight loss was involved. In any event, I don't think radiation effects from IMRT would affect it one way or the other.

I have read of antecdotal stories where some men who had urinary issues before radiation were free of these symptoms afterward but I believe they are in a small minority. In general, I would say that if you have urinary issues or rectal toxcity symptoms before IMRT your are more than likely going to have them afterward. Same for potency and erectile function.

If one suffers from these symptoms, I would discuss them in detail with their urology and radiology team prior to treatment.

Best,

K

ob66
Posts: 217
Joined: Apr 2010

Again Kongo tells it like it is. I had daVinci surgery in June 2009. Incontinence followed. My PSA went up slightly, such that RT was recommended to treat the prostate bed. I had been going through physical therapy which had been moderately (not completely) successful. That was stopped and immediately I had an AUS placed prior to the RT, for the thinking was that with RT my incontinence would most likely have worsened. I researched the matter at length and concur with everything Kongo has told you. Life is heaven with the AUS, and I am so glad I had it done, not leaving any question marks as I went through RT and beyond. It has been 8 months now, and all is very good. Hope this helps.

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