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Why Radiation vs No Radiation

bruins1971's picture
Posts: 227
Joined: Nov 2010

Does anyone know why some people get radiation and others don't? I am wondering why my oncologist said I don't need it.

Posts: 372
Joined: Aug 2006

I had radiation with my original rectal cancer four years ago. It was fast and easy but damaged my pelvis bone morrow so I have permanently low counts of platelets and white blood cells. My reoccurrence was high in my asending colon they won't use radiation because the radiation that misses the target tumor or isn't completely absorbed would damage nearby organs.

plh4gail's picture
Posts: 1238
Joined: Oct 2010

I am stage 3 colorectal and my tumor was very low. I was told that because of this diagnosis the 5 week radiation/chemo treatment prior to surgery will shrink the tumor giving more room to work with so to hopefully not have a permanent colostomy.Other's may know more.


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6694
Joined: Feb 2009

This is just my opinion but I think it is where the tumor is located. Mine was in my rectum so therefore six weeks of radiation.


Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Radiation is usually used to shrink tumors for a couple of reasons:

1. To shrink the tumor to allow a resection.
2. To manage the tumor growth and/or relieve symptoms associated with the disease.

Like Lou, I had general external beam radiation for my rectal tumor.

I've also had stereotactic radiation to treat my liver.

And I'm almost done now with IMRT radiation, which is a conformal radiation therapy that is customized and contoured to the tumor. I just finished 25 of 30 treatments and am definitely feeling poorly from it, but that's to be expected.

Radiation is serious business and not to be taken lightly...once you radiate a particular area, what's done is done and you live with it for the rest of your life. And they cannot go back to the same area to radiate again, so it's a one-shot deal.

You could definitely ask your onc why radiation hasn't been mentioned. I don't have enough info on your case, to offer an opinion as to why. If could tell me more about your situation, I might be offer an opinion.

Be sure to include this conversation with your next consultation and you can post about that and we can offer some more insight and can better keep up with your story.

Welcome to the forum and the best of luck to you!


bruins1971's picture
Posts: 227
Joined: Nov 2010

I guess I should just ask ole Dr. Xiong why I don't need Radiation and trust me I am glad I don't for after 12 rounds of chemo, colon resection and then a liver resection to remove the two tumors I am about done with hospitals and doctors.....

PGLGreg's picture
Posts: 741
Joined: Jul 2006

I'll guess that your oncologist says you don't need radiation, because you have colon cancer and not rectal cancer. Is that right? Radiation is standard for non-metastatic rectal cancer, because the risk of local recurrence is high, and radiation will hopefully zap cancer cells in the vicinity of a rectal tumor. Also, as others have said, when radiation is given for a rectal tumor before surgery, it shrinks the tumor and simplifies the surgery. However, if there is no radiation of a rectal tumor before surgery (as there was not for my tumor), radiation will still be given after surgery.


Lori-S's picture
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sep 2010

The "general" rule is that rectal cancer reponds to radiation and colon cancer doesn't. There is a slight difference in the 2 cancers in the way they handle radiation. Sometimes they will radiate rectal mets and not colon mets for this reason. Of course they use radiation for mets to bones and brain as well regardless of the originating tumor because it is a more percise way to treat those tumors. As I said ... it's just a general rule.

Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

I had one tumour in my colon + one in my rectum (lucky me!). I had 25 rounds of radiation with chemo, + both the tumours shrank. After 4 rounds of folfiri + avastin, my two tumours are "non-detectable" + I continue on folfiri + avastin to fight the mets in my liver, lymph nodes + possibly ovary. So far I am not operable, so the radiation was especially helpful for me.

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