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did any of you stop radiation early due to pain?

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi, I'm new to the site and very glad to find somewhere to talk about this bizarre set of circumstances and symptoms! I had metastatic squamous cell carcinoma, primary site not determined, which spread to the vagina, 3 1/2 years ago and licked it with chemotherapy. It recurred this summer and we tried chemo again but it didn't entirely eradicate the cancer this time, and in the time gap before starting radiation a whole new tumor developed on the left side of the vaginal wall, growing very quickly and causing bleeding from the vagina. I've now completed 20 out of a projected 25 external radiation treatments. That palpable tumor seems to have disappeared very rapidly and the bleeding stopped. I am having such incredible pain with every bowel movement, even while working to control diahrrea with imodium and the low fat, low residue diet... I am taking a little break from the treatments for a few days at my doctor's advice. The area around my anus and rectum are so inflamed and sore that they are throbbing all the time, I can hardly sleep at night, and live in fear of going to the bathroom -- and this is WITH pain medication! I was wondering whether any of you did stop the radiation early because you just couldn't take it any more. I was very relieved to feel the cancer disappearing -- at this point now, it's hard for me to even have the larger perspective any more that this could be worth the pain because it could be the final touch in saving my life. My doctor is still planning to do some internal vaginal radiation and some more targeted doses at the area where we suspect the cancer originated. It's the radiation to the anal area that is making me suffer so much. I'd like to know on what scientific evidence the doctors base their decision as to the number of treatments. Anyone know?
Thanks so much, ponygirl. p.s. I am 41 years old, with two children ages 10 and 13. Everyone is doing ok... I just feel like I am fading away here little by little.

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2005

Hi ponygirl. I was diagnosed with UTERINE CANCER in 2002, had chemo and external and internal radio, radical hysterectomy. I was 36. No kids. Radio really affected my intestine, I still have diahrrea, specially when I eat vegetables and fruits, and problems with my sexual life. I don't have an answer to your question. I just wanted to tell you that I feel very sorry that your are going thru so much pain during your treatment. Mine was hard, but it was not as yours. Just have patience, I know how it is, but you have to think that after all the pain and suffering, you are going to be ok, for you and for your kids. I hope somebody can help you answering your question. Just have faith. You are going to be fine really soon. Please let me know how you are doing.
Good luck and take care,

MaggieAnn's picture
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2005

HI-I went through major surgery, then 30 external rads and 3 internals in 2003 (was 47). Yep, the cramping was indescribably hellish, but I made it through all of my treatments and with time, it has depleted. I also dreaded having to go to the bathroom and traveling far from home at all, was out of the question. Ask for a prescription of Lomotil, instead of Immodium, if it's okay for you to use it. Also ask if there is something topical you can use for the burning. You would probably have to assure that there was no residue from it during treatments, but could put it on as soon as you got home. I believe I had the highest dose rads available to me and while I was getting treatments, they told me NOT to eat the healthier foods, such as salads, roughage, etc., because it would make things worse. They told me to eat whatever I wanted to, because eating all of the junk I wanted to - like fast foods - would treat me better than eating the healthier foods. Oh, and no excess Vitamin E. For some reason, that, along with other "Megadoses" of certain supplements, can counteract the positive effects they hope to get from radiation treatments. My cancer was adenocarcinoma, so there was no effective chemo available for it but had there been, I'd have done that, too. Just wanted to live. I believe that the strength and quantity of radiation treatments is determined by the type and location of the cancer, for the most part. Thirty or so treatments seems to be the most typical, from what I can tell. Give it your best shot, you can do this! There is a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak and if for no other reason, try, because your babies need you in their lives, for as long as your lives are blessed to be together. I know it is a long haul for you right now and this is something that forever changes many aspects of your life, but it really is worth the possibility of success. Hugs and best wishes to you, and please let me know how you're doing. Maggie Ann

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