Can't tolerate Chemo - Radiation recomended

B 1
B 1 Member Posts: 19
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Mom is 72 and “fragile” she has been struggling to handle all the stuff… surgery, excess fluid building up on the chest wall and having it drained, having a port, etc….

Oncologist said if she can’t tolerate the1st treatment of chemo this week, that he will recommend stopping and doing just the radiation with oral chemo. (she has been nauseated, and extremely fatigued this week)

Everyone I have talked to that knew someone who had radiation, said the side effects are awful, way worse than the chemo treatments. Has anyone had radiation? How bad are the side effects of it?

Thanks
Linda
(I live in Norwalk, OH -- Mom is from Parma Hts. OH -- but she is currently in a rehab center in Norwalk)

Comments

  • dyaneb123
    dyaneb123 Member Posts: 950
    That's so not true B1! As
    That's so not true B1! As someone who just finished chemo and is now doing radiation, chemo is MUCH worse for most people....there are a lot of elderly people doing radiation with me nd they seem to handle it just fine. The only side effect of radiation is redness to the skin(sometimes the skin can burn or blister but mine has not and I am in the 5th week) and some people experience fatigue although I have not. Personally, the chemo would concern me more than the radiation for a person of that age.
  • tigger99
    tigger99 Member Posts: 44
    Everyone is different. At
    Everyone is different.

    At the support group I go to, 4 of the women said radiation was a piece of cake, no side effects at all, they tolerated it extremely well. I hope this is the situation for your mom: that she'll tolerate radiation extremely well.

    Please don't let others' bad experience frighten you. For example, I am on Arimidex; before starting it, I was reading about horrible side effects and was frightened to start taking it. Well, I've been on it 2 months now and the ONLY side effect I have is hot flashes, which are definitely tolerable. All that fear was a waste of energy on my part.
  • carkris
    carkris Member Posts: 4,553 Member
    dyaneb123 said:

    That's so not true B1! As
    That's so not true B1! As someone who just finished chemo and is now doing radiation, chemo is MUCH worse for most people....there are a lot of elderly people doing radiation with me nd they seem to handle it just fine. The only side effect of radiation is redness to the skin(sometimes the skin can burn or blister but mine has not and I am in the 5th week) and some people experience fatigue although I have not. Personally, the chemo would concern me more than the radiation for a person of that age.

    This is my second go round
    This is my second go round with a primary cancer. chemo is way worse for me and I had some intense radiation. Can they do like a lighter chemo? years ago they gave CMF and changed it to the current regime. The reason i bring it up is someone posted they were receiving CMF recently and it is more tolerable.
  • tgf
    tgf Member Posts: 950 Member
    carkris said:

    This is my second go round
    This is my second go round with a primary cancer. chemo is way worse for me and I had some intense radiation. Can they do like a lighter chemo? years ago they gave CMF and changed it to the current regime. The reason i bring it up is someone posted they were receiving CMF recently and it is more tolerable.

    radiation
    I'm 65 and after chemo I had 6 weeks of radiation ... and it was a breeze. You just get up on the table ... get "zapped" and that's it. You dont' feel a thing during the treatment. The only thing is you do get a "sunburn" type thing after a couple of weeks and sometimes it will blister a little and peel ... just like a bad sunburn. But the radiation folks can give you prescriptions for that. Some people feel fatigue ...but as my radiation oncologist said ... a lot of that fatigue is from the routine of having to go to radiation EVERY DAY for 6 weeks.

    hugs.
    teena
  • CypressCynthia
    CypressCynthia Member Posts: 4,014 Member
    For me, radiation was a
    For me, radiation was a piece of cake after chemo. I had a mild sunburn and that was it. This past year, I had radiation again for ribs metastasis and this time I had a little fatigue and nausea because part of my liver was radiated. Both times, very mild effects. Everone is different but I would definitely NOT listen to the horror stories. Sometimes, I believe, you have to "just do it."
  • Taina
    Taina Member Posts: 166
    radiation not bad at all
    Hi Linda.
    I had 4 chemo tx's was out on sick leave for 3 months.
    I'm currently on radiation treatment. I have 7 tx's left.
    I also heard so many bad things about radiation but compaired
    to chemo is a piece of cake. Not bad at all. The area i'm getting
    the radiation is a little red, upper chest area a little sore
    but nothing i can't deal with. I put aquaphor ointment every night.
    If her skin gets more irritable her doctor can give her a prescription
    for another cream. The actual zap only takes 1 minute. The time goes very fast. I wish the best to your mom and you. God Bless her and keep her safe.
  • fauxma
    fauxma Member Posts: 3,577 Member

    For me, radiation was a
    For me, radiation was a piece of cake after chemo. I had a mild sunburn and that was it. This past year, I had radiation again for ribs metastasis and this time I had a little fatigue and nausea because part of my liver was radiated. Both times, very mild effects. Everone is different but I would definitely NOT listen to the horror stories. Sometimes, I believe, you have to "just do it."

    The side effects of
    The side effects of radiation vary with the area being irradiated. For the breast area, it is mostly fatigue and skin issues. Skin issues can range from mild to severe. Burning, itching, and skin peeling or blistering can occur. Using the lotions that are recommended right from day one or even before is key. Also being alert to any problems and bringing them to the immediate attention of her radiation team is paramount. I have never had chemo myself, but I think that the consensus is that radiation is not as difficult as chemo. If your mom is 72, her skin may be more fragile so extra care should be taken that it is looked at regularly and that she use the creams, lotions, etc. that are recommended by her team. Some of our gals had a rough go with radation, but all got through it. It is doable and I am sure if she has severe problems with radiation, then just like the chemo they will make adjustments or stop. As with any part of our treatment, there are some horror stories, some easy breezy I had no problems piece of cakes, but most probably fall somewhere in the middle. I was fortunate that I had only mild burning, some itching and peeling, and minor fatigue. I prayer that she will have an easy time and that this will soon be in her past.
    Stef
  • susie09
    susie09 Member Posts: 2,930
    Taina said:

    radiation not bad at all
    Hi Linda.
    I had 4 chemo tx's was out on sick leave for 3 months.
    I'm currently on radiation treatment. I have 7 tx's left.
    I also heard so many bad things about radiation but compaired
    to chemo is a piece of cake. Not bad at all. The area i'm getting
    the radiation is a little red, upper chest area a little sore
    but nothing i can't deal with. I put aquaphor ointment every night.
    If her skin gets more irritable her doctor can give her a prescription
    for another cream. The actual zap only takes 1 minute. The time goes very fast. I wish the best to your mom and you. God Bless her and keep her safe.

    Rads would be easier on your
    Rads would be easier on your Mother than chemo. But, rads aren't a piece of cake either. You can get burnt, blistered, have rashes and you do get very, very exhausted. But, I think your Mom might be able to do them. If not, they could stop them. I think you only HAVE to go 3 days a week, although, they like 5 days a week. Talk to the rads oncologist and see what they suggest for your Mother. Good luck!

    ♠♣ Susie ♠♣
  • B 1
    B 1 Member Posts: 19
    susie09 said:

    Rads would be easier on your
    Rads would be easier on your Mother than chemo. But, rads aren't a piece of cake either. You can get burnt, blistered, have rashes and you do get very, very exhausted. But, I think your Mom might be able to do them. If not, they could stop them. I think you only HAVE to go 3 days a week, although, they like 5 days a week. Talk to the rads oncologist and see what they suggest for your Mother. Good luck!

    ♠♣ Susie ♠♣

    Thanks to everyone
    Thanks to everyone for all the comments. Makes me feel much better as you are currently going thru this. This site is so helpful with all of you out there. I am just scared and I don't want her to have more pain. It's been a rough couple of months for us.

    Thanks Everyone
    Linda
    Live today because tomorrow is not promised..
  • Ritzy
    Ritzy Member Posts: 4,381 Member
    B 1 said:

    Thanks to everyone
    Thanks to everyone for all the comments. Makes me feel much better as you are currently going thru this. This site is so helpful with all of you out there. I am just scared and I don't want her to have more pain. It's been a rough couple of months for us.

    Thanks Everyone
    Linda
    Live today because tomorrow is not promised..

    I want to wish your Mother
    I want to wish your Mother good luck Linda. No bc treatment is easy. They all have side effects unfortunately. I hope and pray that your Mother gets thru whatever treatment that she has to have with as few side effects as possible. Good luck!

    Sue :)
  • MAJW
    MAJW Member Posts: 2,510 Member
    Radiation.......
    Everyone is different, but speaking from MY OWN EXPERIENCE........Radiation COMPARED To chemo was not bad at all....as someone said, there were many elderly people having rads at the time I did, and they seemed to be doing well......One elderly woman was in a wheelchair and she gave ME COMFORT on my first day of rads...she said...."honey, don't be scared, nothing to it!" I turned "sunburned" after the 4th week...My oncologist gave me a cream to apply and told me, and I do believe it is what kept me from blistering or peeling, to APPLY IT IMMEDIATELY after the treatment.....IMMEDIATLEY.....which I did, in the dressing room, before I dressed. And then I reapplied it 3 more times, the last right before bedtime.....NEVER use ANYTHING within 4 hours of a treatment and ONLY use what the physician orders. I did experience fatigue starting about 4 1/2 weeks of treatment......I finished 2 weeks ago, and that is getting better now, too.....

    God Bless and best wishes to your mom and you
    Peace be with you
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    Linda,
    Good luck to your mom. It's tough dealing with these undesirable decisions. I would second what everyone has already said. Of course, people react differently, but in general radiation should not be as touch on the body as chemo. Chemo is systemic treatment and affects every single cell in your body. Radiation is targeted. It sort of sounds like these people who say that radiation is "way worse than chemo" are using scare tactics. Best of luck.

    Mimi