Sunday, April 14, 2024

How Long Can You Wait To Have Radiation After Surgery

What Happens During External

Timing Of Breast Reconstruction After Chemotherapy And Radiation

What happens during your radiation therapy treatment depends on the kind of radiation therapy you receive. External-beam radiation therapy delivers radiation from a machine outside the body. It is the most common radiation therapy treatment for cancer.

Each session is generally quick, lasting about 15 minutes. Radiation does not hurt, sting, or burn when it enters the body. You will hear clicking or buzzing throughout the treatment and there may be a smell from the machine.

Typically, people have treatment sessions 5 times per week, Monday through Friday. This schedule usually continues for 3 to 9 weeks, depending on your personal treatment plan.

This type of radiation therapy only targets the tumor. But it will affect some healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. While most people feel no pain when each treatment is being delivered, effects of treatment slowly build up over time and may include discomfort, skin changes, or other side effects, depending on where in the body treatment is being delivered. The 2-day break in treatment each week allows your body some time to repair this damage. Some of the effects may not go away until after the treatment period is complete. Let your health care team know if you are experiencing any side effects so they can help relieve them. Read more about the side effects of radiation therapy.

What Happens At A Follow

Discussion with your doctor or nurse

At each appointment, your doctor or nurse will ask how youve been since your last appointment.

Tell them about any symptoms or treatment side effects youve had, as well as any other problems or concerns. You can tell them how you are feeling emotionally as well as physically. You can also discuss any practical problems you might have, such as problems at work or with day-to-day activities. You may be given a questionnaire about your physical, social, emotional and practical needs. You might hear this called a holistic needs assessment form.

Your GP or hospital doctor or nurse can help you deal with side effects, or refer you to someone else who can. For example, if you have problems with leaking urine , they might refer you to a continence service. Or if you have problems getting or keeping erections , they can refer you to an erectile dysfunction service. They can also help you get support for emotional problems, such as feeling anxious or depressed, and practical problems, such as managing your finances.

You might feel embarrassed talking about some of the side effects of treatments, such as erection problems. But remember doctors and nurses see people with these problems every day, so be as open as you can. They are there to help.

PSA test

You may be asked to avoid any vigorous exercise or ejaculating in the 48 hours before a PSA test, as this could cause a temporary rise in your PSA level.

A Lower Risk For Breast Cancer Recurrence

Landmark 2004 research, augmented by later studies, helped cancer experts develop guidelines defining which women with early-stage breast cancer could safely omit radiation after lumpectomy.

Generally, this option is offered to women 65 or older who have small tumors with nonaggressive cells that havent spread to the lymph nodes. Medically, this is described as a T1N0, grade 1-2 tumor. The tumors must be estrogen receptor-positive, meaning that the hormone estrogen helps fuel their growth. They also must have an adequate margin of normal tissue surrounding the tumor cut away to ensure all the cancer has been removed. Women who decide to omit radiation instead receive medication known as endocrine therapy for five years. This stops cancer cells from using hormones like estrogen to grow and spread.

“This has been the standard of care for a long time in women 65 or older. Now the debate is whether we can also omit radiation for a larger group of patients with breast cancer. For example, can we take this approach in patients younger than age 65, if patients are chosen carefully?” says Dr. Nadine Tung, director of the Cancer Risk and Prevention Program and Breast Medical Oncology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

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Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. It is often used to treat breast cancer. Your healthcare team will consider your personal needs to plan the type and amount of radiation, and when and how it is given. You may also receive other treatments.

Radiation therapy is given for different reasons. You may have radiation therapy to:

  • lower the risk of the cancer coming back, or recurring, after surgery
  • shrink a tumour before surgery
  • treat breast cancer that comes back, or recurs, in the area of a mastectomy
  • relieve pain or control the symptoms of advanced breast cancer

Doctors use external beam radiation therapy to treat breast cancer. During external beam radiation therapy, a machine directs radiation through the skin to the tumour and some of the tissue around it.

Some women may not be able to have radiation therapy because they already had radiation therapy to the chest or breast. Doctors may not offer radiation therapy to women with lung problems, damaged heart muscles and certain connective tissue diseases.

Remove Devices From Your Skin

Plasma Pen

The manufacturer recommends taking these devices off your skin before your simulation or treatment:

  • Continuous glucose monitor

If you use one of these, ask your radiation oncologist if you need to take it off. If you do, make sure to bring an extra device to put on after your simulation or treatment.

While your device is off, you may not be sure how to manage your glucose . Ask the healthcare provider who manages your diabetes care. Make sure to do this before your simulation or treatment appointment.

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How Does Radiation Therapy Work / What Is Radiotherapy

Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is the use of various forms of radiation to safely and effectively treat cancer and other diseases. Radiation oncologists may use radiation to cure cancer, to control the growth of the cancer or to relieve symptoms, such as pain. Radiation therapy works by damaging cells. Normal cells are able to repair themselves, whereas cancer cells cannot. New techniques also allow doctors to better target the radiation to protect healthy cells.

Sometimes radiation therapy is the only treatment a patient needs. At other times, it is only one part of a patients treatment. For example, prostate and larynx cancer are often treated with radiotherapy alone, while a woman with breast cancer may be treated with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Radiation may also be used to make your primary treatment more effective. For example, you can be treated with radiation therapy before surgery to help shrink the cancer and allow less extensive surgery than would otherwise be needed or you may be treated with radiation after surgery to destroy small amounts of cancer that may have been left behind. A radiation oncologist may choose to use radiation therapy in a number of different ways. Sometimes the goal is to cure the cancer. In this case, radiation therapy may be used to:

  • Shrink tumors that are interfering with your quality of life, such as a lung tumor that is causing shortness of breath.
  • Relieve pain by reducing the size of your tumor.

Before Each Treatment Session

The radiographers help you to get onto the treatment couch. You lie on a special board called a breast board. If you have had a shell made the radiographers will fix this in place. You might need to raise your arms over your head.

The radiographers line up the radiotherapy machine using the marks on your body or on the shell. Once you are in the right position, they leave the room.

It is important to continue the arm exercise you were shown after your surgery. This helps to stop your arm and shoulder from becoming stiff during your radiotherapy treatment.

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Possible Side Effects Of External Beam Radiation

The main short-term side effects of external beam radiation therapy to the breast are:

  • Swelling in the breast
  • Skin changes in the treated area similar to a sunburn

Your health care team may advise you to avoid exposing the treated skin to the sun because it could make the skin changes worse. Most skin changes get better within a few months. Changes to the breast tissue usually go away in 6 to 12 months, but it can take longer.

External beam radiation therapy can also cause side effects later on:

What Else Do I Need To Know About Radiation Therapy Treatment Appointments

Which is Better – Surgery vs. Radiation for Prostate Cancer?

During your treatment period, your radiation oncologist will check how well radiation therapy is working. Typically, this will happen at least once a week. If needed, they may adjust your treatment plan.

While being treated, many people experience fatigue and sensitive skin at the site of radiation therapy. You may also experience emotional distress during radiation therapy. It is important to rest and take care of yourself during radiation therapy. Consider these ways to take care of yourself:

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Diet Guidelines To Minimize Bloating

During your radiation therapy, gas or fluid can build up in your bowels and cause bloating. When your bowels are bloated, they can expand into the treatment area and be exposed to radiation. This can cause side effects or make your side effects worse.

Follow the guidelines below to lower your risk of bloating during radiation therapy. Its best to start 2 to 3 days before your simulation and continue until you have finished your radiation therapy.

  • Chew your food well.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks, such as sodas and sparkling waters.
  • Limit or avoid sugar alcohols, such as xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol. Sugar-free foods often have sugar alcohols. If youre not sure, check the ingredients list on the foods Nutrition Facts label.
  • Choose cooked vegetables instead of raw vegetables.
  • Depending on your symptoms, your healthcare provider may tell you to eat more or less fiber. Follow their instructions.
  • If youre bloated, keeping a food journal can help you see which foods may be causing it. Write down your foods and drinks, the time you have them, and the time you start feeling bloated. Bring your food journal to your appointments. Your healthcare provider will use it to help you manage the bloating.

    A clinical dietitian nutritionist can talk with you about your diet and help you design an eating plan that meets your needs. If youd like to meet with a clinical dietitian nutritionist, ask your radiation oncologist or nurse for a referral.

    How Long Can You Wait To Have Radiation After Surgery

    Radiation therapy for breast cancer uses high-energy X-rays, protons or other particles to kill cancer cells. Rapidly growing cells, such as cancer cells, are more susceptible to the effects of radiation therapy than are normal cells. The X-rays or particles are painless and invisible. You are not radioactive after treatment, so it is safe to be around other people, including children.

    Radiation therapy for breast cancer may be delivered through:

    . External radiation. A machine delivers radiation from outside your body to the breast. This is the most common type of radiation therapy used for breast cancer.

    . Internal radiation . After you have surgery to remove the cancer, your doctor temporarily places a radiation-delivery device in your breast in the area where the cancer once was. A radioactive source is placed into the device for short periods of time over the course of your treatment.

    Radiation therapy may be used to treat breast cancer at almost every stage. Radiation therapy is an effective way to reduce your risk of breast cancer recurring after surgery. In addition, it is commonly used to ease the symptoms caused by cancer that has spread to other parts of the body .

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    Skin Irritation In The Treated Area

    This may range from mild sunburn to peeling or occasionally blistering. This side effect may not develop until treatment completion. It is usually at its most severe for one to two weeks and then settles over the following three to four weeks.

    Its important to try and reduce friction between your skin and clothing to reduce the risk of skin breakdown or blistering. You will be advised how to take care of your skin. For instance:

    • Avoid hot water, lotions or other possible irritants on the skin in the treatment area. Using gentle soaps doesn’t seem to increase skin irritation.
    • Wear loose, light clothing over the area being treated.
    • Avoid heat from hair dryers, electric hot pads, hot water bottles and sun in the treatment area.
    • No adhesive tapes or sticking plasters should be applied to the skin in the treatment area

    Some patients choose to use a transparent, breathable film dressing applied to the skin in the treatment area to try to reduce the skin reaction. Your radiation oncologist will be able to advise you on these products. Your radiation oncologist will also discuss with you the use of appropriate topical creams for the skin, depending on your skin reaction.

    What Should I Expect On My First Visit

    Mixed messages

    When radiation therapy might be of help, a family doctor, surgeon or medical oncologist will refer patients to a radiation oncologist.

    The doctor will first review your medical records and X-rays. A physical exam will be done.

    The doctors will then talk to you about his/her findings and decide how you should be treated. If radiation will help you, the staff will schedule the needed studies to develop a treatment plan. This is sometimes referred to as simulation.

    During simulation, the therapist takes X-rays of the part of your body to be treated to help decide how the radiation will be given. Using the X-ray as a guide to the treatment site, the therapist uses a marker to outline the treatment area on your skin. This area is often called a treatment port or treatment field. These marks are very important. They act as a map of the treatment area and the therapist uses them each day to guide your treatment. Sometimes after a few treatments, tiny permanent dots can be used to replace the painted marks on your skin.

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    External Beam Breast Cancer Radiation

    External beam radiation is the most common kind of radiation treatment for breast cancer. Its a painless treatment, like getting an X-ray. A doctor will place a machine on the outside of your body and aim the radiation beams at the area of the cancer. Your doctor will figure out where to aim the rays and how much radiation to use before each treatment. They will mark the area with temporary or permanent ink.

    Each treatment only lasts a few minutes. The session setup will take longer. External radiation treatment happens five days a week for about five to seven weeks. Its the longest type of radiation treatment available.

    Short-term side effects of external radiation include:

    • swelling and pain in the arm or chest
    • weakened and fractured ribs
    • future cancer in the inner lining of your blood vessels

    External radiation does not leave radiation in your body. You will not be radioactive during or after treatment.

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    Exact Time: After 4 To 6 Weeks

    Lumpectomy is nothing but an operation in which some portion of breast tissues are removed, which can cause cancer, but it hasnt spread yet. It is usually done in the treatment of deadly or uncontrollable tumors or cancer in breasts. Radiation has the ability to kill the remaining cells of cancer after surgery.

    It is a serious surgery with many risks and so complications. It is meant only for early-stage cancer related to breasts. When it is done to remove cancer from the breast, it is then mostly followed by therapy which is radiation based so that there can be less chance of returning of cancer again.

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    Cancer That Is Thought To Still Be In Or Around The Prostate

    If the cancer is still thought to be just in the area of the prostate, a second attempt to cure it might be possible.

    After surgery: If youve had a radical prostatectomy, radiation therapy might be an option, sometimes along with hormone therapy.

    After radiation therapy: If your first treatment was radiation, treatment options might include cryotherapy or radical prostatectomy, but when these treatments are done after radiation, they carry a higher risk for side effects such as incontinence. Having radiation therapy again is usually not an option because of the increased potential for serious side effects, although in some cases brachytherapy may be an option as a second treatment after external radiation.

    Sometimes it might not be clear exactly where the remaining cancer is in the body. If the only sign of cancer recurrence is a rising PSA level , another option for some men might be active surveillance instead of active treatment. Prostate cancer often grows slowly, so even if it does come back, it might not cause problems for many years, at which time further treatment could then be considered.

    Factors such as how quickly the PSA is going up and the original Gleason score of the cancer can help predict how soon the cancer might show up in distant parts of the body and cause problems. If the PSA is going up very quickly, some doctors might recommend that you start treatment even before the cancer can be seen on tests or causes symptoms.

    Im Worried About All The Side Effects From Prostate Cancer Medications What Can I Do

    How Radiation Affects The Prostate | Mark Scholz, MD

    Carefully review the side effect profile of the different hormone therapy regimens, and discuss with your health care team potential ways to minimize the effects. In the end, its important that you not only understand the value of the therapy in the management of your prostate cancer, but also that you learn how to live your life as best as possible while fighting the disease.

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