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Question about Radiation tx

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 879
Joined: Aug 2012

Is there a maximum amount one can have in a lifetime? This was mentioned to us at our very first appointment with the ENT that diagnosed. Once the decision was made to go to our U of M hospital and we were assigned to an new ENT, there was no discussion about this..nor with the Radiaologist or Oncologist. Does anyone have any information to share about this? We are concerned that if there is ever a recurrence that rad would not be considered.

longtermsurvivor's picture
longtermsurvivor
Posts: 1836
Joined: Mar 2010

I have been radiated twice. As have a number of other regular posters on this site. Only once was the old rule when I was treated for my first cancer back 14 years ago. Technology,,and ourmability to treat, have improved quite a bit. This is not something you should comcern yourself with, as itmismworrying about things that likely wont happen anyway.

best to you

Pat

KTeacher
Posts: 992
Joined: Jan 2011

I hope that there is not a lifetime maximum. I had rads after my lip 'lift' in 2010 and again after neck dissection in 2011. I know that they had to carefully map the area because of the previous radiation. I don't know what I am facing now but if I ned rads, I surely hope that I can get them. I don't know how many more places they can cut on my face.

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 879
Joined: Aug 2012

Thanks Pat. It is very comforting to know this, and especially from you. I knew we could ask the doctors at the hospital that he's being treated at...but, it just came up over the weekend. It's been really bothering him. This puts us both at ease.

Ladylacy
Posts: 517
Joined: Apr 2012

My husband has gone thru 2 rounds of radiation. Once in 2010 -- 35 radiation treatments -- for laryngeal cancer and then he just finished up another 35 radiation treatments for cancer of the cervical of the espohagus. We were also told that he couldn't have more radiation after the first round. But this time he was being treated at a cancer center and they told us he could have more but that side effects could be bad because this round would basically be in the same spot as the first round. They had to map it out carefully because his spine couldn't take anymore radiation and we were also told that his cartoid arteries could burst, but thankfully he had no problems there. Now we are told no more on his neck but he could have radiation in other places. All I know is that he had the same side effects as the first time -- the closing off of his throat for which he just had a dilation and he is able to swallow again.

Best wishes -- Sharon

fisrpotpe's picture
fisrpotpe
Posts: 1344
Joined: Aug 2010

my understanding with the new machines over the last 3-4 years is that an area can only be radiated once. as long as the new mapping of the treatment is available/kept then if cancer comes back they can take the old mapping and map around it with the new treatments. that is because of present treatments are much more pinpointed.

for example if radiated for back of tongue they would not have to radiate the neck by pinpointing the tongue. so if the cancer showed again in the neck they could then radiate the neck. this would by pass the first radiation treatment.

by doing so you might think this is two treatment plans over the same area but it is not.

this is just my understanding and how i view the new more accurate machines as to being a huge step in reducing long term side effects.

i hope this was not confusing and is only my opinion after talking with doc's, tech's and those who have been treated her locally.

john

hrowe
Posts: 51
Joined: Oct 2012

There is a lifetime max for an area treated. I can't say what the Gray total would be? I had 70 Grays on my SCC stage IV tumor near the epiglottis (now resolved). I would not be able to get that amount of radiation again in that same area. You can get radiation to other areas as long is there is a minimum safe distance. A rad onc could answer that.

hrowe
Posts: 51
Joined: Oct 2012

There is a lifetime max for an area treated. I can't say what the Gray total would be? I had 70 Grays on my SCC stage IV tumor near the epiglottis (now resolved). I would not be able to get that amount of radiation again in that same area. You can get radiation to other areas as long is there is a minimum safe distance. A rad onc could answer that.

Sorry for double post. website was hanging

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 879
Joined: Aug 2012

was each organ of the body has a different limit on the amount of radiation it may receive in a lifetime. This depends on a few factors, including whether the whole organ was irradiated or only a portion of it, and the total dose of radiation given (which is measured in units called Grays).

Maybe Longtimesurvior can add to this?..

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1747
Joined: Nov 2009

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_burn

Clicked on this, and it does give one a little new insight into the rads, though I'm not sure how much of this applies to the kinda rads we get. Of note, are the physical symptoms of post-tx many of us are already experiencing, such as neck and face spasms, jawbone structure damage, etc. On one of my last rad Dr visits she was telling me how they've got a new machine that is better than the last, which I got to know; and, if it comes back on me- she can treat me again. Hmmm...

kcass

longtermsurvivor's picture
longtermsurvivor
Posts: 1836
Joined: Mar 2010

because there are a bunch of variables. Not the least pf which is that there is a tremendous variation in host response. Any of the measures of radiation damage has can be plotted on a two coordinate graph, woth percent of patients expeiencing the particular damage on the ordinate and dose received on the abscissa. This assumes equal dosimetry in all cases being compared. In throat cancer treatment, permanent loss of salivation is unusual below 52 gray, but is about a. hundred percent above maybe 80'gray. There appears to be some continued recovery of tissues as years post treatment pass. This is why there is the recommendation of several years passing between radiating the same tissue. There is no 70 gray limit, as was suggested by a previous poster. In brachytherapy, because of the method ofmdelivery, there is very rapid attenuation of the radiation over a short distance. Brachytherapy is done by actually inserting a short-lived radioactive source directly into, or next to a tumor. Near the source of radiation, doses of up to 200 gray can be delivered.

Sorry for the confusing answer. It is a complicated situation.

Pat

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 879
Joined: Aug 2012

I'm sure it is a complicated situation. I rest easy that with the new technology they are able to pin point the radiation at suffient levels as opposed to previous years. Thus, allowing for possible needs in the future. We plan to address this question with the next radiation doctor appointment and pass along his information.

CivilMatt's picture
CivilMatt
Posts: 3090
Joined: May 2012

cureitall,

I always figured when my nose hair started smoking, I was getting close to enough radiation.

You know you’ve had enough radiation when the technicians leave their lunch on your chest to warm-up.

I really don’t know my radiation limit, but I do know my cancer limit (none).

Best,

Matt

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 879
Joined: Aug 2012

Matt,

You have a great sense of humor and I love it! I find so much enjoyment out of your posts. You offer great advice with your experience for us newbies...but you put a twist in it with your humor and it is rather comforting, I made add. : )

Thanks for the response.

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8103
Joined: Sep 2009

You had nose hair......

Dang, you must not have had enough chemo if you had any body hair left.

JG

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