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radiation same time as chemo? radiation same time as chemo?

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  #1  
Unread 03-07-2004, 06:31 PM
radiation same time as chemo?

I was diagnosed with cervical cancer Dec.1st/03. Cone biopsy done Dec. 15th/03 (found microscopic vascular invasions of the cancer) ; radical hyst. Feb 13th/04.

This week I was told that the cancer has spread to my lymph nodes (2 to be exact) although no other traces of cancer were found anywhere else (not on cervix, ovaries, uterus, etc.). My gyn/onc. said that she and her team were shocked since it is rare to see cancer "skip" the way it has with me. I am told that the cancer is in a very early stage.

I am scheduled me to begin radiation with simultaneous chemo starting at the end of the month. What can I expect? Has anyone else been down this same road? Thanks for any help you can give me.
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  #2  
Unread 03-07-2004, 07:14 PM
radiation same time as chemo?

I was diagnosed with invasive squamous cell carcinoma (cervical) on 12/17, but am doing things backwards -- I went through chemo/radiation, and am scheduled for surgery on April 6. (Cone was unsuccessful because I was bleeding way too much, so they couldn't do surgery.)

Anyway, I really didn't experience too bad of a time with chemo and radiation. Whatever chemo meds they prescribe, TAKE THEM! I was on Zofran and Compazine to hold the nausea at bay, and those really worked. The last week and a half or so I was nauseous, but I figure out of six weeks, that's not too bad. I work at home (but specific hours, I couldn't put work off if I felt bad) and was able to work throughout the entire six weeks. I felt fatigue the first night of chemo, and pain in my lower back because the chemicals are bad for your kidneys (drink LOTS of water!), but would feel fine the next few days, and didn't start feeling funky until the fourth day. But the meds really helped, and I was able to do my normal activities.

Radiation wasn't that bad either. Take Immodium for diarrhea, it really works. My radiologist told me I could take double the recommended dosage if I needed to, but I never did. I never experienced red/"sunburned" skin, either, and hardly any fatigue, just a little at the end. (The nurse suggested daily use of a non-perfumed lotion such as Lubriderm on the skin that was radiated, except NOT within three hours of radiation. I don't know if that's why I didn't experience any skin problems, but it can't hurt.) I'm one month post-radiation and experiencing some pain with BMs. That's how my radiation symptoms started, so it makes sense they would end that way, but I'm going to call tomorrow to find out if that's normal.

Good luck with your treatments :-)
  #3  
Unread 03-07-2004, 07:24 PM
radiation same time as chemo?

Dear Connie,

Sorry that you are having to go through all this, but Jules' response certainly is encouraging. You know that you'll be in everyone's thoughts and prayers here that the treatments will knock out all cancer without too much distress to you!

All the best.

Blessings.
Marlene
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  #4  
Unread 03-07-2004, 09:10 PM
radiation same time as chemo?

Hi, Connie. I had chemo and radiation at the same time. It was tough, but doable. (I did not commute to work... I did start working, though, from home, about mid-way through my treatment.) At the beginning, I think everyone assumed I'd do the chemo first and then follow up with the radiation. Well, when I met my radiation oncologist, he suggested that better results might be attained by doing both at the same time. In retrospect, it was the best decision I ever made. I finished with my treatment a lot earlier than if I had waited to do the radiation.

The second best thing I ever did was, whenever I experienced any side effects, I was right in my doctors' faces asking what "we" were going to do about this?! Side effects can be tough, but suffering is optional.

How much chemo and radiation are your doctors talking about?

Good luck to you. Please PM me if you'd like to talk further.
  #5  
Unread 03-07-2004, 09:14 PM
Radiation

Connie, I had radiation for DCIS / stage 0 breast cancer. I would recommend asking your radiation oncologist what to apply to your skin. I was told to use only 100% aloe vera gel 3 or 4 times per day during treatment. I did it faithfully and had very little skin problems. Felt no fatigue. (Radiation on breast doesn't involve treatment to any "working parts" though.) Did so well with radiation that oncologist said I didn't need to come back for two-week post-radiation check-up.

Good luck. Mary D.
  #6  
Unread 03-07-2004, 09:41 PM
radiation same time as chemo?

Thank you all for replying so quickly -- what you wrote will certainly help me.

I have to admit that this all has me pretty scared....but I know I can handle it and that I will make it through this -- I simply won't accept anything less!

I am recovering well from my surgery and have found this web-site to be a tremendous support so far although today is the first time I have participated/posted.

I am told that I will have to do radiation for 4 weeks, 5 days a week and during that time I will be given weekly chemo (likely the kind where I won't lose my hair).

We go to an appointment at the Cancer Clinic this Thursday to meet with my gyn/onc and the radiation/onc. They will be able to tell me more including exactly which lymph nodes, more about what stage the cancer is at (although I was told it was "early"), and the strategy, etc.

I have a gyn/onc. with an outstanding bedside manner and I am told that she is ranked among the top four in Canada so I know I'm in the best care possible. That truly does make a difference.

Best of luck to each of you with your own "journey" and my thanks again for being open about your own experiences.
  #7  
Unread 03-07-2004, 09:48 PM
radiation same time as chemo?

Connie,
I know it all seems overwhelming right now, but it's all doable. I had 25 external rads, one 3 day internal, and 6 doses of cisplatin. While not fun, it was all managable and I did just about everything that I always did. This treatment has a very high success rate with squamous cell cancers. My tumor was quite large, too large for surgery, but was totally gone by the end of treatment. I am now 8 months out and have almost no problems except my bowels have a new 'normal'. I go more frequently and still have mild bouts with diarhhea but nothing that isn't easily controlled. I had NO skin problems and little naseau because I took Zofran and compozine. Sex is just the same as it always was. You probably won't have any symptoms until the middle of treatment. Then you are likely to have diahhrea. I took Immodium and then Lomotil for that , and they worked fine. I also had a week or so when my bladder was irritated and I had to urinate much more often than usual. It drove me crazy at night because I never got to sleep for more than a couple of hours. However, this symptom was very short lived.

Remember that this too shall pass. Get a calendar to mark off treatments, it helps to see your progress.

You will be fine, and cancer free, long before summer begins!

Hugs,
Janie
  #8  
Unread 03-07-2004, 11:02 PM
radiation same time as chemo?

Connie,
I forgot to ask, what kind of cervical cancer do you have?
Janie
  #9  
Unread 03-07-2004, 11:11 PM
To Jules

Jules,
I am 8 months out of treatment and still having some bowel problems occassionally. I've never had any pain problems with BMs. But I think bowel problems are pretty common. My doctor said that about 20% of radiation patients will get better for a time then it gets worse. I haven't had that, it has steadily gotten better. But scar tissue forms daily, so problems can come months, or even years, after treatment. The prime time seems to be 4 to 8 months after treatment. We need to be observant because scar tissue can cause blockages which can be VERY serious, live threatening. At my other forum, http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group...rize/messages, a woman there had to have emergency surgery and she lost a part of her bowel because of it. I think she said it occurred at 6 or 8 months after treatment. Scar tissue from radiation, and from surgery, can do weird stuff, as you know. So be cautious, particularly if you vomit and/or have a fever. Calling your doctor is always a good idea. Let us know what he says!
Hugs,
Janie
  #10  
Unread 03-08-2004, 09:45 PM
type of cervical cancer

Hi Jane,
I was told that I have "glandular cervical cancer" not squeamous. It is apparently the less common type. As for what stage, I know it was the first stage but I don't have much more information than that because I didn't think to ask and wasn't sure it would have much meaning to me anyways. I don't have a copy of my pathology report although I know they'd give it to me if I asked. Now that it has spread to my lymph nodes, I'm not sure how they identify it? I plan to ask them a lot more specifics this Thursday at my appointment. Thanks for giving more information about the radiation -- I figured that there could be long-term effects although I hope that I bounce back quick. Glad to know that you are hanging in there too.
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