PROJECT: 05-DJC:174.9

This is Deirdre's Breast Cancer Diary. I try to update this blog at least every evening. This is an easy way for me to keep a journal of the experience, and at the same time, I can keep my friends and family up-to-date on what is going on. I find it is not so bad to have cancer, but it is awfully depressing to talk about it. I hope you laugh as you read along. You can find the beginning in February the archives. Thanks again for reading :o)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


If anyone knows what I should expect during radiation therapy, please let me know...I am curious to find out.


  • At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Deirdre, here's some info I found on radiation therapy from NCI... unfortunately, it doesn't focus on what to expect... Yo

    Facts About Radiation Therapy

    Radiation therapy may vary somewhat among different doctors, hospitals, and treatment centers. Therefore, your treatment or the advice of your doctor (the radiation oncologist) may be different from what you read here. Be sure to ask questions and discuss your concerns with your doctor, nurse, or radiation therapist. Ask whether they have any additional written information that might help you.

    Radiation treatments are painless.
    External radiation treatment does not make you radioactive.
    Treatments are usually scheduled every day except Saturday and Sunday.
    You need to allow 30 minutes for each treatment session although the treatment itself takes only a few minutes.
    It's important to get plenty of rest and to eat a well-balanced diet during the course of your radiation therapy.
    Skin in the treated area may become sensitive and easily irritated.
    Side effects of radiation treatment are usually temporary and they vary depending on the area of the body that is being treated.

    Here's a link for what to expect:

  • At 6:06 PM, Blogger Deirdre said…

    Thanks, YO

  • At 6:11 PM, Blogger melissa said…

    Talking to mom... she says that Carol had both chemo and radiation. They thought that it was "easier" than chemo. Very quick process..would prob. take longer to get in, set up etc. than the actual treatment. Only side effect that she (Carol) had was the hair loss and vomiting. A little tiring for her (again Carol)..but nothing like the chemo.

    Hope this helps a little :)

  • At 6:15 PM, Blogger Deirdre said…

    What Side Effects Occur With Radiation Therapy to the Chest?
    Radiation treatment to the chest may cause several changes. For example, you may find that it is hard to swallow or that swallowing hurts. You may develop a cough or a fever. You may notice that when you cough the amount and color of the mucus is different. Shortness of breath is also common. Be sure to let your treatment team know right away if you have any of these symptoms. Remember that your doctor and nurse have seen these changes in many radiation patients and they know how to help you deal with them.

    Are There Side Effects With Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer?
    The most common side effects with radiation therapy for breast cancer are fatigue and skin changes. However there may be other side effects as well. If you notice that your shoulder feels stiff, ask your doctor or nurse about exercises to keep your arm moving freely. Other side effects include breast or nipple soreness, swelling from fluid buildup in the treated area, and skin reddening or tanning. Except for tanning which may take up to 6 months to fade, these side effects will most likely disappear in 4 to 6 weeks.

    If you are being treated for breast cancer and you are having radiation therapy after a lumpectomy or mastectomy, it's a good idea to go without your bra whenever possible or, if this makes you more uncomfortable, wear a soft cotton bra without underwires. This will help reduce skin irritation in the treatment area.

    Radiation therapy after a lumpectomy may cause additional changes in the treated breast after therapy is complete. These long-term side effects may continue for a year or longer after treatment. The skin redness will fade, leaving your skin slightly darker, just as when a sunburn fades to a sun tan. The pores in the skin of your breast may be enlarged and more noticeable. Some women report increased sensitivity of the skin on the breast; others have decreased feeling. The skin and the fatty tissue of the breast may feel thicker and firmer than it was before your radiation treatment. Sometimes the size of your breast changes--it may become larger because of fluid buildup or smaller because of the development of scar tissue. Many women have little or no change in size.

    Your radiation therapy plan may include temporary implants of radioactive material in the area around your lumpectomy. A week or two after external treatment is completed, these implants are inserted during a short hospitalization. The implants may cause breast tenderness or a feeling of tightness. After they are removed, you are likely to notice some of the same effects that occur with external treatment. If so, let your doctor or nurse know about any problems that persist.

    Most changes resulting from radiation therapy for breast cancer are seen within 10 to 12 months after completing therapy. Occasionally small red areas called telangiectasias appear. These are areas of dilated blood vessels and the color may fade with time. If you see new changes in breast size, shape, appearance, or texture after this time, report them to your doctor at once.

  • At 9:57 AM, Blogger chemo boy said…

    With so many things cancer, it all depends on the person, the treatment plan, etc. The process isn't much different than being at a dentist's office for x-rays. They leave the room, a buzzer goes off...longer than the dentist's buzzer...not much to it. Ask lots of questions. I'd guess you're getting IMRT, possibly on a Varian machine...or accelerator as the techs like to say! My tip is wear clothing that's easy to get in and out of is recommended, because it has to come off to get the beam. Sweats worked for me, as I didn't even have to prep and put on a gown.

  • At 12:38 PM, Blogger Deirdre said…

    Thanks, Chemoboy!


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