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radiation rx stage IV lung cancer with bone mets

staying strong
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2009

My dad was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer with mets to bone right before Thanksgiving. Bone scan shows involvement at T 11. Thankfully that was the only place spotted so far. He has done radiation to his back for pain. Finished about 10 days ago. He still has pain- sometimes even "flare up" pain as he calls it where it gets really bad. Is this normal and how long does it take for radiation to take affect? Or is this as good as it gets? He does have some good days but seems to really suffer the next day. Dr.'s tell us that this is normal and that the radiation is still killing the cancer cells. Any thoughts? He will start chemo after the first of the year.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

I am not familiar with the concept of using radiation therapy for 'pain', unless by that you mean that they are alleviating pain by reducing the size of a tumor (?). The radiation therapy I am familiar with is used to reduce or eliminate cancer rather than pain, per se.

In any case, from personal experience and the reading of many others' experiences with rad therapy herein, I would say that the most dramatic sort of effects from treatment seem to begin showing themselves about two weeks in. This is all dependent on location, dosage, and frequency of treatment, of course, among other things, I am sure.

As well, there seems to be a lay and professional consensus that the effects of rads continue for quite some time beyond the last treatment, again dependent on the factors listed among others.

Best wishes to dad and his family.

Take care,


staying strong
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2009

Thank you for the note/comments Joe. Dad is exactly 2 weeks out from the radiation so hopefully things will start to turn around. He is getting discouraged as he thought that he would feel better by now.

I'm pretty sure that they used the radiation to shrink the size of the tumor and thus are hoping it will alleviate the "pain". I went to most of dad's appts, however that was one I missed. I'm a health care professional as well so it confused me a bit too.

Next week he will hopefully get started on chemo and really start to shrink these tumors. I will continue to pray for a miracle everyday!

Thanks again and best wishes to you also,

Staying strong!

Posts: 89
Joined: Dec 2009

They definitely use radiation to palliate pain and side effects in late stage cancer (by shrinking tumors). I know they suggested it to reduce my mum's nerve pain from a tumor on her side that sits on a nerve by hopefully shrinking that. She ended up deciding not to do it though as she was frightened of the side effects. She went with a bit more chemo that she fortunately tolerates beautifully and that seems to have done the same job. The advantage with radiation is that it is localized and not systemic like chemo.

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