Side effects of IMRT?: I get my gold... - Prostate Cancer N...

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Side effects of IMRT?

dixiedad profile image
20 Replies

I get my gold beads (fiduciary markers) on Dec. 4, 3030 and begin intensity modulated radiation therapy soon after.

What were your experiences? Side effects? Diet? etc.


20 Replies
Magnus1964 profile image

Lay off the gas producing beans, cabbage, etc.

6357axbz profile image
6357axbz in reply to Magnus1964

It was a cakewalk for me. Exercise helps a lot with the fatigue. I second Magnus’s comment. If you have too much gas they like to slip a tube up your butt to vent it prior to your treatment session.

dixiedad profile image
dixiedad in reply to 6357axbz

I do Nordic walking for a little less than a mile most mornings and two sessions a day on a stationary recumbent bike for 20-25 minutes each. I'd like to walk more but...arthritic knees.Glad you had an easy time of it.

Hopefully I will too.

dixiedad profile image
dixiedad in reply to Magnus1964

Dang. I love beans. Oh well.Thanks

Tall_Allen profile image

I had SBRT (which is a kind of intensified IMRT done in just 5 treatments). My side effects were some increased urinary frequency and urgency and some blood on my toilet paper that lasted for about 2 weeks. Here is what you can

My RO doesn't like any diet changes, but some ROs like low fiber diets during treatment. The goal is to minimize bowel mobility. Just follow your RO's directions.

dixiedad profile image
dixiedad in reply to Tall_Allen

Thanks T-A.I recently started intermittent fasting (8-16) and a low carb diet.

Haven't heard from uro or RO about diet.

Sounds like low fiber would lead to constipation?

I appreciate you reply.

Tall_Allen profile image
Tall_Allen in reply to dixiedad

The bigger concern is bowel motion. High fiber increases bowel motility. Every time your bowels move - passing gas or waste - is an opportunity for the beams to miss.

Ask your RO (not your Uro) about diet - he may have no preference, but I'm sure high fiber is a no-no.

dixiedad profile image
dixiedad in reply to Tall_Allen

OK.From what I read he will want empty rectum and full bladder?

We haven't covered that yet.

Whew, I'm sure new at this.

Tall_Allen profile image
Tall_Allen in reply to dixiedad

That's what my RO wanted. I drank water and took a crap before each session. The radiation tech looks at the cone beam CT scan at the start of each session. He won't allow the session to proceed if there is too much shit in there or if the bladder isn't full enough.

dixiedad profile image
dixiedad in reply to Tall_Allen


EdinBmore profile image

I had the tattoo marks and fiducial markers (never understood why the tattos). 25 IMRT sessions over 25 days; 45 Gy.

Although the procedure itself was "uneventful" - meaning no cutting, pain, etc., I still found it nerve wracking. All of the "what ifs" flooding my mind - what if I moved, sneezed, didn't have a full enough bladder or an empty enough bowel, and so on. Oh, and the "what if they missed their target?" And, how is this going to affect my life - sexually, emotionally, etc? I felt very much alone and scared. But, perhaps, that's just me. Fortunately, all of this tends to recede in one's mind...after the fact.

I found myself utterly exhausted. More frequent and urgent bathroom visits; particularly at night. Awake 6-8 times every night (contributing to the fatigue and exhaustion during the day). I was lucky: no burning, no blood, no trauma. I lost weight (but quickly regained it and gained 10-12 lbs because of ADT). Oh, did I mention the psychological impact? Orgasm yes, ejaculation no...gone, poof...I'm sure that, for some men, that's not a big deal and they're just glad to be alive. Me? Not so much. Significant impact upon my self concept; a sense of loss and grief. Again, made far worse by the ADT.

The one thing that seemed to help was exercise. I started going to the gym (never much of a gym person) 5 or 6 times/wk. Personal trainer helped me to focus and do the exercises correctly (docs recommended high impact). Although I really didn't see much impact upon my physical self (again, the ADT turned muscle to mush), exercise and walking/treadmill running helped my mental state. I assume a large part of that was an increased sense of control (as in, at least I'm doing SOMETHING to combat this disease). Anyhoo, I soldiered on with it for 18 mos until COVID shut down the gyms. Switched back to long walks which I still do now.

So, two years post treatment, I've adjusted to my new normal but the journey was difficult and I wish that the docs had been more candid about what to expect and had offered more emotional support and had suggested group or individual counseling to deal with all of the emotional baggage that accompanied the treatments. Btw, in addition of the IMRT and ADT, I also had a brachy "boost."

I found the support offered here to be a great help. A lot of information, experience sharing, emotional support and a sense of you're not alone.

Good luck to you.


dixiedad profile image
dixiedad in reply to EdinBmore

I'm 79, married 51 years. Sex hasn't been part of our close relationship for a long while (by mutual consent) so I don't have to worry about that.I do Nordic walking (like cross-country skiing) every morning. I do a 20-30 minute session on a stationary recumbent bike followed by 60 curls with 8 lb. weights morning and afternoon.

I also recently started intermittent fasting (8-16) and a low carb diet.

Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with me.

A0007720 profile image
A0007720 in reply to dixiedad

Dixie Dad, you are my hero on your exercise and diet regime. A real inspiration. Cheers!

withhope profile image
withhope in reply to EdinBmore

You described most of us have gone through. And good thing is that it will be fine after all. Thanks !

Jimhoy profile image

I don’t recall if I had IMRT or EBRT.... had the gold targets and 45 doses (not including the man boobs)!!! My only comment is that beware of the dreaded assplosion!! Sudden urges to go with diarrhea. That happened to me in public, just after being 1/2 way through the treatment. When reporting it to my Oncologist, he replied “that can happen” because the first 1/2 broadcasts the entire pelvic area whereas the second 1/2 concentrates more so on the gland. Thanks for the warning you #$&$#@$&#@#$&!!! I have also noticed (years later) that there is little wiggle room after you get the urge to go. I’m told that the bowels loose some elasticity thus it’s now like overfilling a glass jug!!! Full is full and needs to empty!!Best of luck


dixiedad profile image
dixiedad in reply to Jimhoy

I'm told that I have three areas, all within the prostate. This is supposed to be pinpoint accuracy (I hope).Thanks.

fldrifters1 profile image

good morning Dixiedad !.....the markers are quick.....after the biopsy ,the marker placement was similar but quick. My rad doctor didnt require any specific directions before each of my 45 fractions. I didnt get fatigued....I didnt really notice anything annoying . Of course the 6 month Lupron shot before the radiation was as expected with all the side effects that dwindled after a year from the time of the shot. The radiation experience was just a non event ......main thing I can remember is that you must NOT move a muscle while on the slab getting the radiation fractions lasted all of maybe 5-10 minutes. Im at the 4 year mark next month , with no problems so far .....for me such an easy way to deal with this happy I chose radiation.....good luck you possibly will be surprised how easy it all goes .....good luck and don`t worry about it will all be behind you soon !!! Peace

dixiedad profile image
dixiedad in reply to fldrifters1

Many thanks from me AND my wife!That's what I wanted to hear.

fldrifters1 profile image

Forgot to add , for me , I didn't have any severe ed.....tried the pills early on , but didn't like the side effects....and I'm close to 80% I'd say in that department...I've always had a week stream so the tamsulosin each day does help with urination...good luck..

dixiedad profile image

Started Flomax and am getting up fewer times at night.32 treatments to go after today.

Occasional mild burning at end of pee sometimes.

That's about it for side effects.

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