Has anyone here had radiation therapy?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by c073186, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. c073186 macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    On January 8th I had back surgery to remove some (benign) tumors in my spine. They removed one but left the other because it was wrapped in some nerves and decided it was too risky and that I should undergo radiation treatment for it. Has anyone else experienced this? I have been told it may cause nausea and diarrhea because the radiation will be passing through my stomach / abdomen. It is going to take 30 treatments, which at 5 days per week is 6 weeks! That is a long time to go to the hospital every single day. Supposedly the side effects are relatively mild but I have not heard much first-hand evidence of this. Does anyone here know much about this?
     
  2. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    All I know is that the best known palliative for the ill-effects is marihuana.
     
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    It's INSIDE your spine, and they're going to irradiate it? Do you know what they mean by "radiation treatment"? I think how "good" this treatment is depends on how they're treating it.

    If they're irradiating you with a radiation beam from behind, then that may be OK. I don't think it's the greatest treatment available in the world, but I guess they if they use a small enough beam or something, it's worth irradiating all the healthy tissue in front of the spine (ie: intestinal wall, abs, and possibly your prostate if they irradiate low enough down).

    Did they tell you that your treatment may cause tumour growth in another part of your body? It sounds like you're getting treated very often, though. I don't know about the spine, but maybe they think that by delivering the radiation slowly over the course of 6 weeks, not much healthy tissue would be damaged because it could repair itself every day. :confused:
     
  4. hayduke macrumors 65816

    hayduke

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    I would urge you to address all of your medical questions to your physician and to get a second opinion if you think it is warranted. Judging from the unprofessional responses, thus given, you will not find the best medical information on a forum for Mac related rumors.

    On the other hand, you will likely find supportive people and possibly members who can share their experiences.

    I hope your treatments go exceptionally well and that anything that ails you is soon part of your past.
     
  5. c073186 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Heh, yes, I was not expecting a professional medical consultation from Mac Rumors forums. Rather, I was just wondering if anyone else here has actually undergone radiation therapy for whatever reason and if so, how it went.
     
  6. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    my grandfather has. It one of the more mild type of ways they fight cancer and what not. Beats the hell out of the other forms.
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    I've never undergone it, but I do participate in some of it. ;) I'm more familiar with a much different treatment, though. I don't know the details of your treatment, so it's difficult to say.

    You're probably going to be treated with something called IMRT, and you'll probably be irradiated from the back, and both your sides. I don't know if they'll bother irradiating you from the front. I can't imagine it doing much good.

    It'll be a bit scary. I don't know how long your treatment will last, but it won't be 30 or 60 seconds. I'm guessing around 15 minutes. If your treatment is as I believe, you'll be put under a big machine called a linear accelerator (LINAC). It'll be slightly intimidating because it'll rotate around your body sometimes. If you need to get scanned first, you'll probably undergo a CT scan, which will be a bit more intimidating. You'll essentially be put in a doughnut-shaped hole and numerous image slices through your body will be taken. You'll be asked not to move for quite a long time. The machine isn't big, but it would still be weird.

    I haven't undergone any of this myself, so it's hard to share experiences. I can only describe it from the point of view of someone observing.
     
  8. c073186 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    I'm going to be having Tomo radiation therapy, which is a little better than IMRT because it spreads the exposure to more areas so no one area gets hit as hard. It is basically like a CT scanner but it gives a dose of radiation. It will take approximately 15 minutes (30 minutes with all things considered) per day of treatment. None of this will be that bad, however, seeing as MRIs are way worse because you have to lay still for 1+ hour in a machine that makes the most annoying noises. CT scans are nothing comparatively speaking.
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    Ah OK, Tomotherapy. Yeah, it's basically like a LINAC mating with a CT machine to produce some crazy hybrid idea. My description of the treatment doesn't change too much, though. I don't know what x-ray energies are used in Tomo, but I don't believe it matters because you'll probably get typical energies. If the energies are in the normal range, the maximum amount of energy is delivered at a depth of 1.5 cm to 3.3 cm in human tissue. Anything closer or further than the peak gets less energy, so doctors want the peak to be located where the tumour is. Bone complicates things a bit and change the depth a bit, but regardless, I think most of that radiation will be delivered to your spine from the back. Otherwise, they're delivering the peak energy to an organ in the front, and less to the back, which is where the spine is. The only thing that I don't really understand about spine treatment is how they approach delivering radiation to bone, or how they spare your nerves. They will also wipe out some of your white blood cells, no? I think you're the wrong person for me to ask. ;)

    Anyway, it should be no problem compared with MRI, like you said. However, remember not to move during tomo, either. The treatment plans are produced assuming you're in a particular position. Once you move 2 mm, the treatment is off by 2 mm. If you move sliiiightly side to side, I guess it's not a big deal as long as you don't fidget too much. Remember, their treatment plan can't tell them, or you, how much radiation they delivered to the tumour. It can only tell them how much they THINK they delivered if nothing changes. Unfortunately, things change. Lungs move, people fidget, and things go pear-shaped really badly sometimes. Just remember to relax when you're in the machine. You may get strapped down, but think of that as being an advantage for you.
     

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