Radiation therapy

My dad went in for his consultation today for radiation therapy to his chest and a lower dosage to his brain for preventative measures. I wasn't able to go to the appt because we live in different states and I had to work today. So many questions I have about radiation. My dad told me he needs to have another brain MRI done before his radiation, which in turn makes me anxious yet again.... even though he just had one a month ago that came back clear. ( we hope it's the same this time around)

I guess I don't get what radiation actually does? Is it meant to shrink the tumors? Is it a good thing he gets it? Does it prolong the time it will take to return? I guess I wish I could have been to the appt to ask these questions. I tried asking my dad but he's pretty grumpy today because he's sick of running around to appts. I tried telling him we just need to go with it, and we're blessed for alllllllll the blessings we've received so far in this journey. Any input is welcome

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  • Hi lesleyk21,

    I'm sorry I can't really give you any info on radiation other than without it our disease is not considered curable , but with it we have a chance for cure. I'm scheduled for my consultation on 27th. Please be patient with your dads grumpiness , it's really easy to get fed up with these docs and hospitals. Even though we know they are doing what they can , we can always see ways they could make it easier and that is why we get grumpy.

    Best wishes ,

    RW

  • Thank you. I appreciate it ❤️

  • Lesley,

    Rather than spend a lot of time typing a post, I have attached a link to the NIH/NCI that will tell you much more than I can post at this site. As "RW" noted in a reply - often times - without radiation "....our disease is not considered curable, but with it we have a chance for cure..." Very well stated. Ask questions of the oncologists, physicians, and attendants. And don't move forward until you have answers. YOU and YOUR DAD are your BEST advocate for his care.

    GOD BLESS

    Cliff

    cancer.gov/about-cancer/tre...

  • Hi Cliff-

    Thank you for the information. I am reading it now. I appreciate it! I guess more than anything I just want him to be able to enjoy a "normal" life for a little bit. It kills me to see him so grumpy ( but I understand why). I guess he was also a little grumpy to the receptionist yesterday to schedule his radiation appts, so he called her today to apologize for any rudeness. I just love my Dad, and want to try and be there as much as possible, and be informed as much as possible. Thank you again for this resource, I can tell it's going to be a good read! :)

  • The lower dose radiation is called Preventative Cranial Irradiation or PCI. The second MRI will help them determine that pci is the way they want to go rather than whole brain radiation as the brain is generally where sclc metastcises first. Over the years studies established that giving small cell patients pci causes a significant reduction in the number of patients who develop brain mets. The chemo agents that are used for small cell do not cross the blood brain barrier so radiation is the only thing that will destroy tumors there.

    A while ago I mentioned my coworkers husband to you. He survived 7.5 years with small cell. He had pci as part of his treatment when first diagnosed and it was successful. He never experienced a brain mets.

    Your dad should request an Rx for Namenda as it may help to preserve brain function. My best hopes are with you at this time.

  • Hi Denzie,

    Thank you for your response. My dad had told me that brain radiation can cause short term memory loss. I'm not sure what other side effects it can cause, but it just sounds pretty scary. ( I think he's scared too). I will research Namenda. Do people take this when they get brain radiation?

  • Yes, Namenda was originally developed to improve the lot of patients with Alzheimer's disease. It was found to help to reduce the side effects of patients who have PCI and those who have WBR. If I ever require either I will request it without hesitation.

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