Started Radiation Yesterday

Had my first of 39 adjuvant radiation treatments yesterday. I'm hoping that the microscopic cancer cells that have escaped my prostate are still floating around the pelvic bed somewhere and the radiation takes them out. I had surgery six months ago and am feeling pretty good since then. Any recommendations on how to get through these next two months in the best possible way? what should I expect from radiation? Thanks in advance.

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  • You may want to begin debulking your diet. By the end of my radiation, I was consuming almost no fiber. My bowels adjusted pretty quickly after radiation ended, and I was able to go back to a normal diet. Other than that, if you feel tired, allow yourself time to rest. Be good to yourself!

  • This is probably a dumb question, but why no fiber?

  • It may not happen to everyone, but radiation irritated my colon, and bowel movements became very uncomfortable until I debulked the diet (at my doc's recommendation).

  • The circulating tumor cells (CTCs) will be all over the body, not just in the prostate bed. That's the nature of blood circulation. However that doesn't mean that they will form metastatic tumors. If I understand what I have read, most men with PCa will have some CTCs, even those with fairly early stage cancer. However the cells generally die off over time.

    Dr. Charles "Snuffy" Myers posted some information about his personal experience with cancer. He said that, at the time of his radiation treatment, tests showed a fair number of CTCs. However, one year after treatment, another test was done and no CTCs were found.

    It's actually very hard for cells that originate in one organ of the body to survive elsewhere in the body. They usually need a specific environment to survive, one that's only found in the organ in which the cells originated.

    At some point in the natural development of prostate cancer, tumor cells will undergo some mutations that enable them to survive outside the prostate. Before that point, the CTCs are not dangerous. After that point, they can become dangerous. If you haven't got detectable metastases yet, then there is a good chance you won't get them if the primary cancer in, and extending from, your prostate is sufficiently damaged by the radiation.

    As for what to expect from radiation, I experienced some radiation burns on the skin - very like sunburn and treatable with over the counter skin ointments. Ask your doctor or radiation oncology technicians what to get. I lost some pubic hair that was in the path of the beams, but that grew back very shortly. I had some aggravated hemorrhoids that caused pain and itching. I treated them successfully with liberal use of Preparation H, though the doctors can also give you stronger stuff if needed.

    Long term, I experienced some Peyronie's Disease (bending of the penis during an erection) and, after some years, impotence. The impotence set in slowly and never became complete, but it was enough to prevent standard style intercourse. If you've already had surgery, you've probably already had some damage to your sexual apparatus. Radiation will add to that. However, it is important to note that sex does not have to go away! If you are married, you can continue to satisfy your wife and she can continue to satisfy you. You just have to experiment.

    Best of luck.

    Alan

  • Hi. Yes you diet change will help a lot. They had me cut out all spicy food. All veggies. Anything that can cause gas. If your insides are moving around when they zap you , it could cause the machine to hit in the wrong area. No grain or hi fiber. Foods just while you're. In treatment. Things that I usually never eat , were on the menu. Like baked potatoes with sour cream. White rice with mushroom soup mixed in. Sourdough bread. Those were my favorites. They want you to stick to bland, white foods. At a recent support group meeting the nurse was telling us that it's more important than they had thought a few years ago. They had many guys come in for treatment that they had to reschedule because their insides were moving around too much. Drink water before each treatment too. You'll be fine. Just lay there for five minuets then get up and go off to your regular day.

  • I am 51 and just started salvage radiation treatments last week. No significant side effects yet. Ocassional burning when urinating and higher frequency of urination. I am vegan, have not changed diet until I experience bowel symptoms per recommendation of Dr. I run most mornings at 4:30 am have treatment at 7:30 still have energy and feel good. We'll get through it and remain positive!

    Bill

  • Hi cfrees1,

    I too had 39 radiation treatments last year ending on April fools day, little did i know the joke was on me. I am the King of Complications after I had my prostate removed the doctor said there was a 90% chance he got all of the cancer, well two months later I was in the 10% and had to start radiation. For 6 months after the radiation I was extremely fatigued, then came the Proctitis with bleeding from my rectum. I then had a cauterization procedure which didn't do much. Next I went to a different doctor and had formalin treatment, it worked but 2 weeks later I was back in the Hospital for pain management. My oncologist said my colon has become stiff buy the anus making me feel like I have to go every 20 minutes, and any amount of pushing starts a painful spasm. He also said he has seen less than 10 cases like mine in the last 25 years, lucky me.

    As for pain management it has become a balance of using less opiates to lessen the constipation but not so much as increase the pain. My quality of life is none existent as I have become dependent on being near a toilet at all times.

    On the up side i am applying for Medical Marijuana as it now legal in my state, and I have found it really does help with the pain and the spasms.

    Please remember for me anything that can go wrong will. I am the outlier, not the norm. I feel the odds are in your favor, just take it one day at a time and hang in there. And I hope i didn't scare you.

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