Anyone been reirradiated?

JennKidd Member Posts: 1
My husband is a childhood cancer survivor (Ewing's soft tissue sarcoma of the head and neck). Now 30+ years later, he has developed squamous cell carcinoma at the radiation site. He underwent major free flap surgery for it this summer, but now there is concern that it might be back (there was a "positive margin" left). The doctor has mentioned re-irradiating him with over 60 rads in an even larger area than the original radiation. This is through clinical trial, as they do not know how the tissue will react, whether radionecrosis will be sped up exponentially or if it will give him an even worse quality of life than he already has, or whether it will even be effective in killing the cancer for good. Has anyone here undergone reirradiation or know someone who has?


  • Eil4186
    Eil4186 Member Posts: 949
    I don't know of anyone who has had this done. All I know is that I was told that tissue cannot be radiated twice because it cann only recover once and a second time will destroy cells.
  • MLC53
    MLC53 Member Posts: 109
    If you go to the discussion boards page and click on Head and Neck cancer, you should find some people who have had to go through radiation again due the cancer coming back. There is also a really good website for oral cancer patients that is very informative. Lots of people there have had radiation more than once. The address is
    Hope this helps. Good luck to you!
  • Mannie
    Mannie Member Posts: 52
    I am a brain cancer survivor. I was irradiated 42 times and my oncologist said he would irradiate me again if the tumor came back. I had traditional IMRT the 1st time and would have gamma knife the second time if I needed to be re-irradiated so the dosage would be pinpointed the second time instead of slightly more dispersed.

    I do know a woman who is also a brain cancer survivor that was re-irradiated. She was in a clinical trial, I think, but I'm not sure. That was 9, almost 10 years ago. She's been cancer free ever since. I know she also used or took thalidomide with the radiation. I know the tumor was not responsive to treatment the 1st time she had radiation, she did not have surgery or chemotherapy, so she tried re-irradiation with thalidomide and it calcified the tumor in her head. She had PECOCK radiation (not sure how to spell that) but I know that's not done around here anymore.

    I don't know what she was like before but I know that she has headaches now (most people with brain tumors do), seizures (they're controlled with meds.), and walks with a cane (that can happen to anyone for any reason).

    So, it can be done, is fairly common, and successful; at least where I live.