radiation side effects

jamie777 Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Lung Cancer #1
My mother was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in March of 2006. She has gone through 4 treatments of chemo and then 35 treatments of radiation. There is now no trace of cancer anymore. Once she was in her 3rd week of radiation, she started to have horrible side effects. Some, such as gagging and vomiting, have gone away, but she still has Horrible pain in her chest area and she is unable to swallow anything without severe pain. She pretty much only eats soup and this has caused her to lose about 30 pounds. She has been finished with radiation now for about 10 weeks. She continues to tell her doctors about the pain in her throat and chest, but they insist that the chest pain is not from the radiation. (I don't believe that...) The doctors have also told her that she has the pain in her throat because she has ulcers, or open sores, on her esophagus. The ulcers were a result of the radiation. They did a procedure where they inserted "balloons" to open it up, but this did not help much, either. They have given her a pain killer (oxycodone 5 mg every 6 hours), but this does not help much. Has anyone had these types of side effect from radiation on or around their lung area and what was done about it? Is there any recommendations for who else she can call and talk to about this? Any info. would really help. Thank you.


  • karenlee3sons
    karenlee3sons Member Posts: 35
    I never had this so the only recommendation I can make is that she see another radiation oncologist. Hopefully someone can help her get past this. Hang in there and tell her not to accept anything but answers to her problem

    Good luck. Karen
  • Sassie
    Sassie Member Posts: 4
    My mom too has small cell lung cancer and is in radiation, because it spread to the brain, so they are doing radiation on the brain. Her problem is not nausea, but she has no appetite at all, and has gotten very weak, so weak she can barely walk, and is now in the hospital. The doctor claims she should not be this weak from radiation, but like you I wonder if it doesn't affect people different ways, and maybe some people are more sensitive to it. My mom doesn't seem to be taking it well at all. But they did a cat scan, and according to the doctor the radiation has worked really good. But now she's so weak she's in the hospital, and I am worried about her health in general, so I don't know what to tell you except that I personally am beginning to think that radiation is a lot tougher than the doctor's let on. I wish your mom the very best and hope she's feeling better soon.
  • Diane411
    Diane411 Member Posts: 13
    Hi Jamie,

    My dad just finished his radiation 3 weeks ago. He, also, had horrific throat pain after about his 3rd week of radition. We tried magic mouthwash but that didn't help. He could only get down a few oz of water a day, and maybe, on a good day...soup. He lost a total of 40 pounds. I had to take him to the ER once for fluids, then a home health nurse started coming in twice a week for fluids.

    His pain is getting less and less as time goes by. I would say his pain is now "tolerable." He can now get about 40-60 oz of fluids in a day. He actually had pizza last night. YEA!!! At last weeks visit onco asked how his throat was. Mom told him he still couldn't get much down. He said if the pain didn't ease up by next week,he would have to "go in" and take a look. My dad has a hx of reflux so I think that compounded his problem. They also told us to start him on Prilosec or Nexium. When he does take it, it helps.

    I would have to say, radiation was much harder on my dad than the chemo. Radiation literally kicked his butt.

    Dad had some weird chest pains Saturday night. That kinda scares me because it was at the tumor site. I have no idea what could have caused it. It lasted about 15 minutes, he took a Percocit (sp?), and it was gone about 15 minutes after that. I know that radiation can continue to work for up to 2 months after treatment, but I can't imagine why your mom would still be having throat pain.

    I know you are probably beside yourself. I was. It is a horrible thing to watch a parent struggle and in pain. Hang in there and don't stop until you get the answers you need to help your mom. Get a 2nd opinion and see what another oncoman has to say. I wander if a Gastro (stomach) doctor would be able to help you? I wish you the best and stay aggressive!

  • lban
    lban Member Posts: 13
    jamie777, tell your mom to hang in there. My husband had exactly the same thing happen during and after his 35 radiation treatments and chemo. He suffered with thrush and was unable to eat or drink for a long time. The Drs were very good about treating the thrush by giving him plenty of IV fluids for dehydration as well as antibiotics. He also took a liquid medicine called Carafate 4 times a day to heal the horrible sores in his esophagus/throat. He has permanent damage to his esophagus and it is definitely from the radiation. He has had an esophageal dilatation procedure 6 times to open his stricture. He has been told that his esophagus needs to be remodeled because of the damage. He is finished with chemo and radiation now for his sclc, that was diagnosed April 06. We are waiting for a PET scan to be scheduled sometime around the end of October. He is doing so much better. He continues to have pains in his chest. He cannot take any narcotic so takes Tylenol for pain. Tell your mom to hang in there because this too shall pass. I will pray for your mom and hope that God will ease that pain for her.
  • kaitek
    kaitek Member Posts: 156 Member
    Hi jamie777,

    My mother didn't receive radiation. I asked her oncologist if radiation would be an option when we were discussing treatment in our first meeting. He said radiation would kill her lungs. With the stories I'm reading about the side effects of radiation, I'm thinking my mom's oncologist did the right thing in forgoing radiation.

    That's just another opinion by an oncologist that radiation can damage healthy parts of the body.

    Good luck to your mom.