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Radical Hysterectomy with Radiation Radical Hysterectomy with Radiation

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Unread 03-16-2004, 04:26 AM

Hi Katie,
That's awesome that it hadn't gone to your lymph nodes! I know that the decision must be tough because they aren't "pushing" it. Good luck with whatever way you chose. Wishing you continued health...
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Unread 03-16-2004, 08:41 PM
Radical Hysterectomy with Radiation

Hi Everyone,
Your responses to my concerns seem more real than any stats that doctors can hand over to me. Thanks again.

MoeKay - I received similar information from my gyn onc & radiologist with regards to percentages. They said I had a 20-25% chance of recurrence and this could be reduced by approximately 50% with radiation. They then also informed me that yes there is a risk that the radiation itself has a small percentage of causing cancer and so can the HRT that I will need once radiation is completed. So what are the real reduction in chance of recurrence is my question??

Also, I want to hear from real people who have been through radiation to see what lasting effects they have experienced? What is menopause like for someone who is 35???? How do these HRT effect you??

Any comments would greatly help me in understanding the real risks better.

Best Regards,
Unread 03-16-2004, 08:55 PM

I hit menopause as a result of my surgery rather than radiation. I'm 31 and am taking HRT (estrace) which I started in the hospital. Without the HRT, things weren't too great -- hot flashes, insomnia.... With the HRT, things are normal....I actually haven't noticed any difference from before.

I was told that while there are risks of getting cancer as a result of taking radiation, my risk would increase only by 2% over and above the average population.

As for the HRT causing cancer -- my gyn/onc told me that I would not be at an increased risk unless: 1) I'd had breast cancer; 2) I was at an age when my body would normally go through menopause. She told me that surgical menopause (and menopause as a result of external factors such as radiation) is much, much different than natural menopause in terms of risks taking HRT. Good luck with your decisions.

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Unread 03-16-2004, 09:26 PM
Radical Hysterectomy with Radiation

Since I just finished radiation last week, I'll leave the reply to long-term effects for someone who has been done for much longer.

Menopause, though, I can say a little about. I'm a little older -- 42 -- and for me, it really hasn't been bad. This is one area where I'm really open to natural therapies. Next month I'll be discussing these with my gyn/onc -- for now, I am not taking anything.

I've been getting some night sweats, but I've been wearing jammies and I just remove my top. We keep a fan on (a window fan) because my husband has tinnitus and it helps him sleep. Now it helps me, too! I simply throw the covers back and the fan cools me off. Sometimes I get really cold afterwards, and then the jammie top goes back on. A little annoying when you're used to sleeping through the night, but for me it rates as no more than an annoyance.

The first daytime really hot flash I had, I didn't know what it was. It was during my first post-surgery real 'outing,' and I thought I had done too much too soon. I was hot, and dizzy, and woozy -- thought I would pass out. The second time, after a few minutes, realized what it was. Since then, I've taken to wearing layers on top. The moment I begin to feel extra warmth, I remove the top layer, and it's forestalled it every time. So now I do get flooded with warmth but again, no more than an annoyance.

My skin has always been oily. I thought menopause might change that, but my face still slicks up as the day goes on. Keeps me looking young. I have noticed that my body's skin is drier, and my hair doesn't get oily as fast. For my body, I pat on unscented lotion right after I get out of the shower to seal in the moisture, and that has halted the flakiness. (And this dry skin on my body might not be menopause -- could be radiation.)

I wanted to go through menopause slowly and naturally. Before the DX came back cancer, I was sure that all my symptoms were simply peri-menopausal. I had started reading up on menopause and was actually looking forward to the process. Sounds weird, I know, but when you think about it, it's a natural change into a new stage of life. So I was kind of mad about having to do it suddenly. (I'm over my mad now, though.)

Since I'm having such an easy time of it, I'm going to ask my doctor if I can just take a multivitamin/mineral supplement to offset any chance of osteoporosis. And I've been eating yogurt and cottage cheese, meanwhile, for calcium.

I hope you all don't mind my long replies! I get on a roll...
And most of all, I hope this helps!

Best wishes,
Unread 03-16-2004, 10:30 PM
Radical Hysterectomy with Radiation

Without radiation you have a 75 to 80% chance of no recurrence of your cancer. With radiation, that chance increases to 90%. That seems like a no brainer to me. The change is quite significant! You are reducing your odds of recurrence from one in four to one in TEN!! That's a HUGE difference! How could your doctor say this was 'borderline' recommended when it changes the odds by so much? Have you discussed these odds with your husband and family?

I can't imagine settling for a cure that was 75% effective when one that was 90% effective was available. I'll take my odds with radiation rather than risk a recurrence! A recurrence of cervical cancer is a nightmare that I am hoping to avoid.

Good luck in your decision and with your next gyn/onc visit.

Unread 03-17-2004, 06:35 AM
Radical Hysterectomy with Radiation


In your response to my post, you mentioned an increased cancer risk from the HRT you will need. However, taking HRT has nothing to do with the radiation since it is the surgery itself that causes surgical menopause, not the effects of radiation.

From all of the seminars I've attended since completing treatment in 1999, I've always been told that the increased risk of a secondary cancer from the radiation is extremely small. I also had concerns about this issue, but would never have traded off a 15% increase in my chances for not having a recurrence for a miniscule risk of a secondary cancer.

I would recommend that you check with your radiation oncologist, and would suspect that he/she can provide you with the information you need on this issue.

Take care,

Unread 03-17-2004, 06:37 AM
Radical Hysterectomy with Radiation

Hi Again,
Thanks for your latest responses - I'm suprised that there are not more people regretting radiation! I was told some nasty side effects - such as permanent diarhea, bladder dammage, rectal ulcers, and not to mention what I heard it would do to your sex life.

I wonder if you are all the lucky ones or if those people they talk about are no longer around to discuss their experience.

Anyways, thanks again for your good news.


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