Radiation to the chest (the mediastina... - Lung Cancer Support

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Radiation to the chest (the mediastinal region)?

mklc
mklc

Has anyone had radiation to the chest area? Specifically the mediastinal region?

My radiation oncologist is going to do hypofractionated (which is a shorter course of radiation) course of radiotheraphy

My questions are:

1) have you had any side effects

2) was the radiation treatment successful

3) To complicate the treatment I have a PACEMAKER.

4) If anyone has a pacemaker, were you warned of any problems re the radiation?

My treatment will be 15 sessions in 3 weeks.

Thank you very much and good health to you all. Mike

25 Replies
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The esophagus area can be affected so ask for Magic Mouthwash Prescription to have on hand. Swallowing became impossible for me but the mouthwash (that you actually drink) will numb the area and give you time to get soft foods down. That was my only side effect. Good luck!

mklc
mklc in reply to Seaspray298

Hi Seaspray,

How long did you have the swallowing problem?

Was it during the radiation period only?

I hope you are doing well now?

Best regards, Mike

Seaspray298
Seaspray298 in reply to mklc

My swallowing problem happened a few days after I finished 10 treatments. I thought I had sailed through! I walked and exercised everyday so the fatigue from that never got to me.

mklc
mklc in reply to Seaspray298

Hi Seaspray,

Are you completely back to normal now?

I am having 15 sessions in 3 weeks. So a bit more than you.

I do hope all is well and life is good?

Thank you so much and best wishes, Mike

Seaspray298
Seaspray298 in reply to mklc

Lol, we are never normal again!🤣 I had brain radiation about 6 months after the chest radiation. That tried to knock me down with horrible fatigue but I fought it with caffeine and exercise. Also had my hip radiated 2 years ago. Fun times!

mklc
mklc in reply to Seaspray298

I am truly sorry to hear this.

You are a fighter without a doubt. It's hard to keep a good man down...

Fight on and all best wishes,

Mike

Denzie
DenzieModerator

Seaspray298 is right on the money with the advice about esophagitis and Magic Mouthwash. It gave me some relief.

Long after my esophagitis went away I learned that many people eat a spoonful of honey after radiation to soothe the radiation irritation and to promote healing. Honey has been used for millennia uncountable to sooth burns. Honey has anti oxidants in it, the darker the honey, the more antioxidants it has. Stay away from raw honey as they may contain botulins which are dangerous with your compromised immune system.

Fatigue is another major side effect of radiation treatment. The best tonic I found for that was walking. Even a little bit will go a long way to speeding your recovery.

Is this for a new diagnosis or do they think it’s metastasis from your previous cancer?

mklc
mklc in reply to Denzie

Hi Denzie,

How long did you have the swallowing problem?

Was it during the radiation period only?

This is for my existing prostate cancer. The pc is in the lymph nodes in my chest (mediastinal region).

I do hope you are doing well?

Best regards, Mike

Denzie
DenzieModerator in reply to mklc

The swallowing issue came up about week 4 and lasted about 2 weeks after treatment ended. You may be able to avoid the worst of it as my treatment was 33times over a 7 week period. I don’t how the hypo-fractionated radiation will affect this overall. But I tried for hypo-fractionated for my breast cancer because I understood the fatigue side effects would be lessened.

Very sorry to learn that you’ve had this progression as your bio page looked like you might be beating this. I send hope that you overcome once again.

mklc
mklc in reply to Denzie

Hi Denzie,

I am having 15 sessions over 3 weeks. I don't know how 'strong' the radiation is. Though this must have an effect.

My RO seems a bit 'casual' about the side effects.

I am concerned about the possible pneumonia which he said 10% of patients get. That is a BIG percentage.

And also concerned about any LONG term effects re swallowing, etc.

I do hope you are doing well and your health is good?

Thank you for your kind words and I very much appreciate your assistance. Mike.

Denzie
DenzieModerator in reply to mklc

I’m almost 9 years out with stage 4 lung cancer, never experienced progression so I’m a happy camper. But, I do stay on top of my annual follow up exams.

I wonder if the RadOnc is a bit cavalier because this beats what happens without radiation. Also, it’s important because it can very easily get into the blood. Look once it’s in the lungs, it often travels to the brain next so it’s great you’re having treatment. I’m really glad for you that they can do the hypo-fractionated radiation. Fewer days at the hospital means less exposure to germs and bacteria.

mklc
mklc in reply to Denzie

Thank you so much Denzie. It's great to hear you are well and long may this last. Sincere appreciation. Mike

katherineNED
katherineNED in reply to mklc

I had 30 radiation treatments over 6 weeks. My esophagus was irritated after 2 weeks and lasted for a few weeks. The magic mouthwash didn't help me but a liquid oxycodone did. I ate 'soft' foods like applesauce, bananas, etc. and stayed away from spicy or hot temp foods. The fatigue didn't set into me until the last couple of weeks. I drove myself back and forth from treatment and did my normal activities until the end when I wound up with radiation pneumonitis. I took steroids for a little over a month for the worse symptoms but it stayed with me for a couple of years and scarred my lung badly. It also damaged the vagas nerve. As a result one of my vocal cords lost function and my voice is gravely at times and other times I lose my voice. My gag reflex is also a problem because of this. I would still take it over chemo any day! It killed the cancer and I have been cancer free for 3 years. It was all worth it to be alive today! Make sure you let your oncologist know if you have any issues. You can do this! Best wishes.

mklc
mklc in reply to katherineNED

Dear KatherineNED,

Thank you so much for your detailed considerate reply.

1) Do you remember how many GREYS of radiation you received?

2) Was it hypofractionated radiation?

3) And to what region of the chest exactly?

I am so happy that you are well and so well done to you for enduring the treatment.

I know how tough the treatments are from many years of treatments.

All sincere best wishes to you....I admire your strength. Mike

katherineNED
katherineNED in reply to mklc

Hi Mike,

Unfortunately I was on information overload on what the radiation oncologist said he was going to do, so I have no idea what kind of radiation it was and how many GREYS. He said he was working with a 'clean canvas' with me since I had no prior radiation so I'm assuming he gave me as much as he thought was safe. Since my radiation treatment I've learned more about it, like there are different types, amount, etc.. I had surgery to remove my upper left lung followed with chemo for 16 weeks 5 years ago. I was clear for a year and then it showed up in 3 of my mediastinum lymph nodes. Chemo again didn't work so I had radiation. All the best, k

mklc
mklc in reply to katherineNED

Dear KatherineNED,

I know what you mean....too much information sometimes and probably best to just forget it all!!!

I am so glad to hear that you are well now and enjoying life.

All best wishes to you. Mike

I had radiation 3 years ago almost three and a half and it cause scar tissue in my esophagus so the swallowing is hard but I became professional at figuring out how to make it work if it gets rid of the cancer the little tiny things are all worth it I did that magic mouthwash to but I'm talking three years later I'm still having problems but I'm alive and I'm happy you just got to do pretty much what they say because you just want to get rid of it

mklc
mklc in reply to cmilashoski

I am so sorry to hear of the problem from radiation and that it still persists. Your positive attitude is so encouraging and I truly admire you for this.

Long may the good health continue.

All best wishes and positive vibes...Mike

I had 30 rounds of radiation a year ago. Developed very bad esophagitis right after treatment and was put on Morphene for several weeks due to pain when swallowing. Later was able to use Magic Mouthwash to help when eating. After 2-3 months, it got much better. I believe it largely depends on exactly where you're being radiated. Unfortunately, my main tumor was next to my esophagus.

Dear e-string,

I am so very sorry to hear of what you went through.

How are you now?

Thank you so much for replying to me. I am very grateful.

Best wishes, Mike

I had 20 rounds of radiation, 2 years ago. Fatigue was the worst. I did not have esophageal issues, just slight heartburn. I did have skin irritation, but applied a product called, California Pure Naturals - organic facial hydrator that I found at Costco. This product is mostly made of Aloe Vera Juice. It was amazing and took care of that issue. I do find that my back ( behind where I had the radiation) gets to itch something terrible, seems that's where the radiation has to come out... I have been also applying that same product to my back when that gets unbearable. Good luck with treatments, remember, tell the nurses ANYTHING that is uncomfortable for you... that is why they are there. God Bless.

mklc
mklc in reply to gzwisern

Hi gzwisern,

That's a great tip...and I will get it online or from Costco.

Wonderful that you didn't have any side effects.

And I will follow what you say about anything issues that are uncomfortable.

I trust you are well now?

Good health to you.

Best wishes, Mike

Mike,

I had 10 rounds of radiation to basically the same area back in November 2015. By far the most difficult part was the intense fatigue. I was not prepared for that and had already been through Chemo and thought it would be fairly easy to go through 10 sessions. I decided to drive myself, thinking it would be fast and easy, BIG Mistake!

I I had to do it all over, I would be certain to arrange for rides back and forth. The procedure itself is fast/easy, but the commute for me, wiped me out. I would go, then come home and go back to bed. I dreaded every day of it.

I also suggest asking for an RX for Magic Mouthwash. It was given routinely at my center and they also gave us samples of a Skin Lotion used for Radiation Burns called "My Girls", mygirlscream.com/ - I never really needed, but I do know some folks (who had longer sessions) that did have skin burns, so for some it might be more important.

The first couple of sessions were fine, but the fatigue quickly set in and as did the discomfort in my esophagus. I did eat, but tried to stick with soft or liquid meals. Lots of smoothies and soups etc. My treatment ended five days before Thanksgiving and we flew across country the day after for a Pre-Planned vacation and to spend the Holiday with our family. I did not want to miss that trip and had my team's approval. I did rest often, but was very happy I went and was happy that I was able to eat Thanksgiving Dinner. I did eat very slowly, took very small bites, chewed each bite very carefully and took my time with swallowing and drank something after almost every bite. It was uncomfortable, but certainly not unbearable.

I did not develop "radiation induced pneumonitis", but I know it can be common, so be sure to report any new or worsening cough to the team. I did, however, develop a deep hoarse cough and my voice sounded deeper, both went away shortly after I stopped the Radiation. Ironically, it's the only time since my cancer diagnosis that I had any cough. As soon as the cough started I told the RO and he would then listen to my lungs every other day or so, to make sure nothing was developing.

I do not have Pacemaker, so I can't give you any idea of how that may or may not be affected. You may want to ask your Cardiologist?

Best wishes!

for my dad adverse affects were devastating: he developed mediastinal cancer. He had radiation to the mediastinal region to treat prostate cancer mets, instead a second cancer appeared.

So please get information on what will be the dose, and also I understand it is better to do multiple low dose treatments than few high dose ones.

I read a Czech publication on radiation damaging pacemakers, but my dad's device worked well.

And yes, esophagitis was very painful and my dad had infusion therapy for several days just to avoid dehydration.

My session was 3 weeks 15 treaments, upper outside right lung and medial lymph next to my lung, very little side effects. I had inflammation in my lung which made it hard to breath for a couple weeks but its all good now.

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