Preventing damage from pelvic radiation?

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I will soon be having pelvic radiation treatment following surgery to treat a recurrence to two lymph nodes (right pelvic wall and right groin). I previously had brachytherapy as well as chemo as part of frontline treatment. I was wondering if anyone has suggestions to prevent complications or damage, especially to the bowels from the pelvic radiation? I tend toward chronic constipation (and occasional bouts of diarrhea) to begin with, so this has me concerned. Are there other side effects of pelvic radiation I should be aware of?

I've recently started taking a curcumin supplement (500 mg once a day). Has anyone had experience with this as a preventative? Also wondering if I should consider increasing the dosage? Are there other supplements or dietary considerations that could be helpful?

Comments

  • Soup52
    Soup52 Member Posts: 908 Member
    edited May 2017 #2
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    I do know it's important to

    I do know it's important to drink enough before radiatioN. Unfortunately I am one who is dealing with side effects, so I'm not a good source of advice except I am currently seeing a gastroenterologist for advice on dealing with my problems. Despite my side effects I'm still glad I had the radiation and chemo as I'm currently clear almost 1 year post frontline treatment.

  • bluesmama
    bluesmama Member Posts: 125 Member
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    Definitely plenty of water.

    Definitely plenty of water. Eat healthy foods within limits specific to radiation treatment. I'm not sure there's anything you can do to prevent damage per se. The radiation keeps working many months after treatment is over. There are nearby organs that may get irritated like the bladder and rectum. Everyone's side effects and long term effects are different. You can help yourself feel comfortable by watching your bowel movements carefully. My issue was diarhea and nausea. I had chemo at the same time too. So I was switching between Immodium and Miralax. My skin turned darker and the radiation was actually pointed along my incision scars so they had a tough time healing. Some women get sun burn so moisturize the night before radiation! I'm already noticing long term effects but it could also be related to surgery and chemo. But some of them are: colitis, weak pelvic floor, tight and achy muscles, scar tissue, adhesions, pubic bone pain, etc. Not terrible but noticable. Good luck. You'll get through it.

  • Lou Ann M
    Lou Ann M Member Posts: 996 Member
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    Pelvic radiation

    I was told to follow very bland diet. No whole grain breads, no fresh veggies or fruit. That and Imodium got me through.

    Hugs and prayers, Lou Ann

  • Kvdyson
    Kvdyson Member Posts: 790 Member
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    You might want to find out

    You might want to find out exactly what type of external radiation you'll be receiving. I had "external - photon - 3D conformal" which is a very low-dose, targeted type.

    As far as advice, I agree with what everyone has already mentioned about drinking enough before each treatment (to move your bladder up and out of the way of the laser) and taking Imodium for diarrhea. You may want to ask about taking probiotics. I took them during radiation and had only very minor digestive side effects. Good luck to you!

  • SandyD
    SandyD Member Posts: 130
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    Thank you for the suggestions everyone!

    Boy, I'm really going to have to work on the drinking sufficient fluid! I generally tend to be bad on that one :(. Kim and LouAnn, probiotics are an excellent idea and I will look for a good one! I've been taking senna and colace ever since chemo and adjust the dosage depending on how my bowels are working at any particular time. This has worked well for me. I didn't know about the skin effects. Will remember to moisturize. Maybe even apply a sun screen too?

    I haven't had an appointment yet with a radiation oncologist so don't have many details other than the recommendation for pelvic radiation. I'm assuming that will be the first step.

  • CheeseQueen57
    CheeseQueen57 Member Posts: 933 Member
    edited May 2017 #7
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    Culturelle

    I took Culturelle probiotic and I didn't have any problems with diarrhea. If you are radiated high, be sure to take your nausea meds in advance. Have some Pandora stations in mind since they often can play music that you like. I didn't have any problems with my skin. I've got some ongoing bladder problems and had an insufficiency fracture of the sacrum but not sure they could be prevented. Try to stay active and take your calcium and vitamin D supplements. 

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,385 Member
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    SandyD said:

    Thank you for the suggestions everyone!

    Boy, I'm really going to have to work on the drinking sufficient fluid! I generally tend to be bad on that one :(. Kim and LouAnn, probiotics are an excellent idea and I will look for a good one! I've been taking senna and colace ever since chemo and adjust the dosage depending on how my bowels are working at any particular time. This has worked well for me. I didn't know about the skin effects. Will remember to moisturize. Maybe even apply a sun screen too?

    I haven't had an appointment yet with a radiation oncologist so don't have many details other than the recommendation for pelvic radiation. I'm assuming that will be the first step.

    I would recommend probiotics.

    I would recommend probiotics.  I met with a dietician when I was going to go through radiation.  I had been taking probiotics before/during this all and she STRONGLY suggested to continue.  She had provided me sheets from a presentation of 40 women with cervical cancer undergoing radiation treatment.  Half took probiotics and half did not.  The percentage of women who were hospitalized from dehydration because of diarrhea and those who took probiotics and were not hospitalized was dramatic.  

    I will also say I was told to get a good lotion to put on my skin.  You may want to ask for what they see work.  

    I am rooting for you, Sandy!!

  • Zeusy
    Zeusy Member Posts: 1
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    Pelvic Raidation concerns

    I have just read the responses to SandyD's post.  They have really been insightful and I will definitely up my water intake before treatment and start probiotics.   Thanks to all who had responded ! 

     

     

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,385 Member
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    Welcome, Zeusy.  Please ask

    Welcome, Zeusy.  Please ask anything and let us know how you are doing.  

  • Red Dahlia
    Red Dahlia Member Posts: 16
    edited May 2017 #11
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    radiation concerns

    I had 28 pelvic radiation sessions and to brachtherapy.  The center I was at had me start out drinking 16 0z. of water in the hour prior to treatment.  They also never did the treatment without first using a machine to check the fullness of my bladder.  Two times the bladder was not full enough and they gave me a bottle of water to drink and I had to wait twenty minutes and then be checked again.  I quickly discovered how much I needed to drink and what timeframe worked best fo my body.  They also inserted a balloon in the rectum before each treatment.  This was said to push intestines up as far as they could out of the radiation field.  I also frank a glass of Beet Kvass(home made fermented beets daily.  This was probably doing what probiotics do.  My daughter had researched and found this drink was a common beverage in places that had radiation leakage from nuclear facilities and that people consuming it had less radiation damage, so I decided it couldn"t hurt to drink.  I still drink a glass to this day.  I was lucky and had very little symptoms during radiation... just some bladder irritation for a couple days after brachytherapy.  I already was cathing from bladder dysfunction after my radical hysterectomy so this may have been from catheter irritation. I am a year and 4 months out from radiation and feeling fortunate to be doing well....occasional bowel issues that I am not sure if related to radiation, or certain foods, but doesn't happen that often. I hope things go well for you.  My center was the Mayo Clinic....they are awesome.

     

  • KatnHat
    KatnHat Member Posts: 27 Member
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    Radiation issues

    Hi, I finished my last of 25 radiation treatments on May 1st and now have my last of 3 brachtherapy sessions tomorrow. I had no issues with radiation for the first 3 weeks, except for some nausea in the evening. But I caught the norovirus on Easter (my mother-in-law literally threw up on me) and had diarrhea and vomiting for a few days, then it just sort of segued into persistent diarrhea, nausea and some vomiting for the final week. I'm sure the virus made me more susceptible. It wasn't over the top horrible; I never had an "accident" on the table, thank goodness! But I did lose quite a bit of weight and got IV fluids on my last day. My only preventative measure was drinking lots of water and using calendula lotion all over my pelvic area and on my lower back and bottom. I didn't have any burning.