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Update on Son-in-Law

Posts: 79
Joined: Jun 2016

Next week John begins six weeks of radiation condensensed into five days using SBRT.  He was accepted into the study because he has fewer than 3 mets and is young and healthy.  (Reminder...he is 42 years old, stage IV, grade 4, 60% sarcomatoid RCC).  For those not familiar with SBRT (Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy), it is a targeted radiation therapy--think non-invasive radiation laser beam).  While it is promising (the radiation onc said he has a 90% success rate of eradicating the targeted tumor) it does have significant risks.

*The tumor is millimeters, if that, away from his aorta.  The intense radiation can cause a hole in the vessel and that is 'not compatible with life'.

*The tumor is also only 2 cm from his esophagus.  The onc said that will give the equivalent of a sunburn to his esophagus and that means no salty, spicy, acidic or crunchy food without extreme pain for weeks to months.  Also a hole could be burned between the esophagus and his lungs (also very near the tumor) which would, as they say "not be compatible with life" (love the euphenisms).

They couldn't use contrast in the new scans to make the body cast (that will hold him perfectly still for the radiation) because of elevated kidney levels...so he'll have to superimpose these non-contrast scans over previous scans to map the tumor and blood vessels.

Optivo seems to be working on other areas of his body, but this bad boy apparently needs to be zapped.

The treatment begins next week, so I would beg you to keep John in your prayers that the procedure goes as anticipated without error...and that the tumor responds to the radiation.  Thank you.


foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

I 've had the sbrt. Tumor was from base of skulll to t-2 wrapped around spinal cord. It was taking me out. Only thyroid and some nervous system damage as result. Most people's sbrt is easier. Good luck.

CRashster's picture
Posts: 241
Joined: Mar 2017

You're a regular cancer battle hardened veteran.

Posts: 79
Joined: Jun 2016

Did you also have any of the radiation side effects of nausea and tiredness?


foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

 I've had a lot of radiation. Back when I was healthier it was no big deal. I get more fatigued now. Radiation works. Back when I first started I remember that radiation wasn't considered effective. We have learned a lot.

Abunai's picture
Posts: 173
Joined: Oct 2016

 I had SBRT, 10 sessions, for a T6/T7 tumor that had been "debulked" first by laminectomy surgery. The tumor had compressed my spinal cord and caused loss of bladder and bowel function and loss of movement in both legs.

I had no immediate side effects from the radiation treatment, and no current side effects other than a dead tumor. Whether there are long term effects or not remains to be seen.

Surgery plus radiation treatment decompressed my spinal cord in time and I regained bowel and bladder function and can walk with the aid of a walking stick/cane.

Dutch1's picture
Posts: 152
Joined: Mar 2014

Two (maybe even three -- time continues to go fast) years ago, I had had this same type of radiation therapy to a spot that was very close to my esophagus.  The treatment went well and has proven to be effective.  The targeted cancer doesn't show up on scans anymore except for a small, stable residual spot that may or may not be cancer.  I had a very raw throat for a while.  Certainly, it was uncomfortable.  Medication helped a lot and recovery is slow.  I can't point to any specific side effects.  I have a cough that I can't get rid of.  Overall, as cancer treatment goes, I'd give this type of radiation a double thumbs up rating.  It worked well for me.

Best wishes.  Prayers for success.


Jan4you's picture
Posts: 1327
Joined: Oct 2013

I can appreciate your concerns and of course will be thinking and praying for you and John.

You have received good advice here already from those in the know. Trust, use your faith!

Sending you both healing hugs,


Posts: 79
Joined: Jun 2016

Yesterday was the first of five days of SBRT for John.  So far all is well...and we all pray that the radiation treatment zapps the heck out of that tumor so near his aorta.

hardo718's picture
Posts: 853
Joined: Jan 2016

And the rest of you too.


Posts: 79
Joined: Jun 2016

Five days of SBRT are over and so far the only SE is extreme exhaustion.  Scans in 8 weeks and back on Opdivo infusions.  Hopefully the radiation zapped that bugger good!

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