Advice on radiation therapy for ovarian cancer

Hi Ladies,

I have been reading up on radiation, it was used quite a lot with good result before chemo was used and is still used sometimes.

I've just finished caelyx results have not been the best,

When I asked my oncologist she said maybe more caelyx might help,

I asked what next and she feels I would have 12 months, I've lost all faith in her I need someone more positive.

Have been reading up on treatments and will go over this with her next visit, depending on her answers I will try a other oncologist.

Would like to hear from any one who has had radiation and the out come.

Cheers Lorraine xx

24 Replies

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  • It's routinely offered for some stages of ovarian cancer in Canada and I understand that there is a current trial or research programme (can't remember which) due to deliver next year. I am in communication (through Instagram!) with a lady who has just had chemo and radiation in Canada. She got through it although there are side effects. She was 1C grade 3 and just diagnosed. I've just done a quick Google search and there are lots of links referring to why it's generally not recommended unless it's to treat a bleed from a localised mass or for pain relief. Target Ovarian Cancer says it can cause mayhem in the abdomen. You can ring the nurse on this site (freephone number given on the main page) and speak with her today too, she could answer some of your questions I'm sure and also re second opinions, possible treatments etc.

    It's worth speaking with your Onc again or even asking for a second opinion. . I think it's very important to have confidence in your Onc and treatment plan. I send you prayers, virtual hugs and think you're doing the right thing to see what else is available to you.

    Take care

    Clare xx

  • I think (this is only from memory so not entirely sure!) that as a consequence of a Canadian study from about four years ago, someone I know had radiation therapy in the uk. My inderstanding was that this was specifically for clear cell and early stage at first diagnosis and was part of treatment along with surgery and chemo.... Sx

  • Hi Sunfleury,

    Thank you for the information,

    I went to my GP to-day he gave me a referral to see another oncology professor , I'll still go back to the oncologist I've been with for the last 2 years with a list of questions that I have not asked, I think being on this site and talking with all my helpful ladies I feel more enlightened to ask question, before you tend to just think their know all.

    She maybe right but I need a second opinion.

    Thank you again and merry Christmas to you and your loved ones from down under

    Lorraine xx

  • Yes it was (is) given for clear cell. I forgot to put that which is weird as my type is clear cell!!!!

  • Hi Clare,

    thank you,

    you always post a helpful reply, I went to my GP to-day and he has given me a new referral to a oncology professor, I will have to travel further from home ,but as I said I've lost all faith in my other oncology.

    Cheers Clare xx

  • It will be good to hear what the second person thinks etc and I'm sure you will feel more confident having taken this positive action - good for you , well done xx

  • Also read this re chemo treatment on cancer.net. Forgive me if this isn't relevant to you however I thought it could prompt discussion with your Onc re different chemos. Xx

    cancer.net/cancer-types/ova...

    Platinum-sensitive disease: If the cancer returns more than 6 months after platinum chemotherapy, doctors call it “platinum-sensitive.” If it returns to one specific spot, additional surgery may be beneficial. You can discuss this with your doctor. Surgery is usually considered only if the time period following chemotherapy has been at least 12 months. If the cancer comes back to more than one place in the body, chemotherapy is the appropriate next step. For patients with platinum sensitive disease, clinical trials suggest there is benefit to using carboplatin again intravenously and combining it with liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil), paclitaxel (Taxol), or gemcitabine (Gemzar).

    A clinical trial evaluated adding bevacizumab to the gemcitabine and carboplatin combination. This extended the time before the disease came back but did not change the overall survival rate. You should discuss the risks and possible benefits of this approach with your doctor.

    Platinum-resistant disease: If the cancer returns in less than 6 months following platinum chemotherapy, doctors call it “platinum resistant.” In general, the choice of chemotherapy at this point is selected from a variety of medications that have all shown similar ability to shrink cancer. Doctors choose them based on possible side effects and preference based on schedule of dosing. These medications may include, but are not limited to:

    Liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil)

    Paclitaxel (Taxol)

    Docetaxel (Taxotere)

    Nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane)

    Gemcitabine (Gemzar)

    Etoposide (Toposar, VePesid)

    Pemetrexed (Alimta)

    Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)

    Topotecan (Hycamtin)

    Vinorelbine (Navelbine)

    Irinotecan (Camptosar)

    For platinum-resistant cancer, most doctors recommend single and sequential use (1 drug after another) of these medications, but they are sometimes used in combination.

    Bevacizumab can be combined with liposomal doxorubicin, paclitaxel, or topotecan for platinum-resistant cancer. Doctors believe this is best used with patients who have received one or two treatments, have not previously received bevacizumab, and those do not have evidence of significant bowel involvement by a CT scan. By adding bevacizumab to the chemotherapy, the time to disease recurrence may be lengthened when compared to those patients receiving chemotherapy alone. You should discuss the risks and possible benefits of this approach with your doctor.

  • Hi Lorraine,

    A close friend of my aunt had radiation therapy for a very large Ovarian mass in her abdomen in the 80s. She lives near to me and is alive and well.

    This family friend is the longest Stage 3 survivor I know of. When I discussed her case with her, it wasn't clear how many masses there were. It could have been one and so radiation was concentrated on that, but she told me that she was put in a large room to receive it across her abdomen. I was told her disease was/is high grade and she continues attending her six monthly appointments with the same doctor at our Women's Hospital.

    Radiation isn't part of the treatment pathway recommended by NICE in England and is only used for targeted therapy in a small number of cases where there is an isolated tumour in a place where miminal damage will occur to surrounding tissues. Given that microscopic disease is not seen on CT and not always discovered by laparoscopy, it's hard to see a circumstance where radiation can be justified.

    I'd be interested to know if there are other women who have lmanaged their disease long term after radiation.

    Sending warm wishes to you Lorraine.

    Xx

  • Hi TinaB1,

    How great for that wonderful lady.

    As I said in my post I'm looking at all treatments when I go back to see my oncology professor

    I'll have a list of questions that I have not ask before,

    Plus I have a referral to see another oncology professor at a different hospital I will ask him the same questions.

    Cheers Tina

    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones from downunder

    Lorraine xx

  • Hi Lorraine

    It's certainly worth asking about. I recently went round our local radiotherapy unit. It was interesting because they are refining treatment so that it causes less damage to healthy tissue and they said the govt is pushing for it to be used more to treat cancer to help the UK catch up with other countries xx L

  • Hi Lyndy,

    Thank you for your reply,

    The reason that I asked about the radiotherapy was a news item in my local paper from one of the head radiologist , he thinks that it should and can be use for ovarian cancer more often when possible then it is,

    So when I go back next week to my oncologist I'll ask questions plus I'm seeing a another Oncologist at a different hospital I need a second opinion.

    Cheers Lyndy,

    Merry Christmas to you and your family from downunder.

    Lorraine xx

  • Interesting. A good friend tells me she had very widespread cervical cancer throughout her whole abdomen & was given very little chance of survival. She was only 32 with 4 small children. She had radiation & was v ill & in pain for a year, but she is still here 30 years later NED.

    My questions are,why would radiation work in an abdomen full of CERVICAL but not FOR OVARIAN? Am I being thick? Have I misunderstood my friend? Is it worth trying when other options have failed? Any doctors on this site have an input?

    I am presently NED but I want to know as much as poss for all of us at any stage

  • I was originally thought to have Ovarian cancer but after my op the pathology showed it was in fact cervical cancer that had travelled to my ovaries. I was told that had they known it was cervical cancer they would 'never have operated because cervical cancer cells act differently to ovarian cancer cells'. In what way they act differently I don't know!! I have had chemotherapy and a scan I had on 4 Oct showed 'no clear evidence of disease' however I am still due to start radiotherapy on 5 Dec. I was also having Avastin which they have now stopped after 6 cycles as apparently it would be of no benefit to me to carry on with it. Ovarian and Cervical cancer are obviously treated quite differently. Not sure this is very helpful really, but shows how my treatment plan changed!!

    Helen x

  • Hi Helen,

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my post all information on this site is helpful,

    It would have been hard to hear that you did not need the operation,now that they are on the right treatment I wish you all the best,

    Cheers Lorraine xx

    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones from down under

  • Hi Sherrym,

    I started this post because I read in my local paper from the head radiologist that he feels it should be used more often for ovarian cancer then it is,

    A question I will be asking when I go back to my oncologist next week.

    Thank you for your post

    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones from downunder

    Lorraine xx

  • Tx hon. Much much luck xx

  • Hi Lorraine I have had radiotherapy twice for my stage 3 oc first lot worked very well and shrunk the nodule down to normal size I think I had at least a year before it started to move again I was put on carbo/ caelyx which didn't shrink it so I had radiotherapy again in May but the nodule is in a very awkward position so it it didn't work this time unfortunately, I'm on watch and wait at moment taking hormone tablets my onc said if it's in one area and they can direct the rays directly on it then it can give good effects, but everyone is different and what works with some doesn't on others hope this helps a little, best wishes Yvonne.

  • Hi Vonny1960

    Thank you it was very helpful to hear you have had radiotherapy with some success,

    I will ask my oncologist about this when I go back.

    I just finished caelyx and did not get the best of results.

    I hope with all my heart that your watch and wait turns out to have a great story,

    Cheers Lorraine,xx

    Merry Christmas to you and your family from downunder

  • Thank you and good luck with yours too xx

  • I had radiation to kill off a small recurrence and it helped for a bit, the side effects were minimal at the time but I do wonder did the rt affect my hip joint on that particular side as now I have problems. I cant get straight answers though, its just inflammation seems to be the answer

  • Hi Suzuki,

    I'm interested you have had radiation with some success,

    as for having the pain I don't know if I would know where it was coming from, I fell

    down the stair running to answer the phone pulled my arm out, plus took a break from chemo a few months ago to have a knee replacement,

    but must be frustrating not to get a straight answer about your hip.

    Hope someone can help.

    Cheers Lorrainexx

    Merry Christmas to you and your family from down under

  • I too have hip pain Suzuki since having rt they gave me a mri scan but said they could not find anything so I am on painkillers now for hip pain but no answers either.

  • Hi Vonny 1960

    I hope you get some answers about your hip.

    Cheers Lorraine xx

    Merry Christmas

  • Had physio and steroid injections. Now it does seem to be settling a little now in spite of the cold weather. I am due back at the onc next week and he will order a ct scan as there is one due, Maybe I was overdoing it a little, I had a dog who was ill and on fluid tabs so she needed washing and her bedding needed washing. Last week we had to say goodbye to her so possibly the lifting etc wasnt helping me either. But it does say that rt may affect the pelvic region. As regards diet while on it, I balanced the fruit and veg, if I was going to the loo a lot. I used Simple Baby wash with Calomile and had to ditch the tights and jeans due to irritation.

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