Radiation on vertebrae

I am having radiation on my T11 vertebrae for B Cell Non Hodgins Lymphoma.  I just had my tattoos today and had this question (after I left the docotors office)  Why are they radiating me from my front instead of  my back to get to my vertebrae.  Wouldn't it go through less organs to go from the back? They told me I would have stomach problems from the radiation.  Won't it be worse because of coming at it from my front side?


  • po18guy
    po18guy Member Posts: 1,261 Member
    Worth a call or email

    I think that it makes little difference. Radiation is like the sun's rays - look what they pass through and they are still toxic 93 million miles away. However, proton beam radiation is a technology which penetrates only a certain amount. I do not know if it is applicable to lymphoma and the human spine, but I would certainly research it before undergoing directed radiation therapy. Perhaps call or email the radiology department of a National Cancer Institute designated cancer center for your answer. 

  • Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3
    Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3 Member Posts: 3,721 Member


    It is reasonable to ask why they the radiologists are applying from the front, but you can rest assured: they know what they are doing, and why. Radiation today is light-years beyond where it was even 10 years ago, the advancements are unbelievable. This is mainly true in the precision of the application:  Healthy tissue is almost always spared today.  When I considered Radiation for my prostate cancer, I learned that today's machines compensate for motion caused by breathing, gas in the colon, even fullness of the bladder -- stuff that used to not be imaginable.  I was considered for a technology called "Calipso," in which a radiation transponder is placed inside the gland, with an accuracy of around 1 MM.   

    It is very possible that the cancer at your T-11 is on the front of the spine, not the back -- it could be as simple as that. But again, this is not a "mistake" on their part.

    Incidentally, I broke my T-9 in a "compression fracture" years ago.  It caused my disks at T-8 and T-10- to collapse, but they are not operable.  Chiropractors have also said they can do nothing. I was listening to an official from a prominent School of Chiropractic be interview on a local talk radio show several years agl. He was basically saying they could fix any problem  in any one.  After the interview, they went to taking calls, and I got on the air. I briefly described my situation, and he said live, "I'm sorry sir, but we would not be willing to treat your particulars," and they then rapidly went to the next caller.  While my spinal condition is not cancer on the spine, I can somewhat relate.

    I hope all of this goes well, and hope you share what you learn from the radiation team.  Ask also what technology they are using. I am willing to bet it is probably a form of what is termed "IGRT."  Either that or SBRT, better known today by the trade names of Cyberknife or Varian Truebeam.


    I've had no medical training, just most medical things.