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All TopicsForum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During and After → Topic: Anyone with lung/heart damage from left breast radiation?

Topic: Anyone with lung/heart damage from left breast radiation?

Forum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During and After — What to expect from treatment and ways to cope with side effects.

Posted on: May 19, 2012 04:06PM

Infobabe wrote:

Do you think this complcation is being managed adequately?

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Posts 1 - 21 (21 total)

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May 19, 2012 04:30PM Dianarose wrote:

I had lung problems about 6 months after rads. I woke up in the night and couldn't catch a breath. I went to my primary and he sent me for a lung x-ray. There was fluid trapped between my lung lining and scar tissue. It took several months to go away. I have to have rads on the right side after I finish chemo and the RO said it could possibly happen again. It usually doesn't happen for months after treatment. I must say it was scary as hell. My scans show scar tissue in my lungs from rads. They are supposed to line you up to keep that happening, but sometimes I think it is so we will go through it. That was my experience, but it doesn't mean it will happen to everyone. My scans said my heart looked good though.

6/10/13 mets to ovary now stage IV

Dx 3/22/2012, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIIc, Grade 2, 17/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy 05/31/2012 Cytoxan, fluorouracil, methotrexateRadiation Therapy 12/03/2012 3-D conformal external beam radiationHormonal Therapy 08/10/2013 Aromasin
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May 19, 2012 06:20PM Infobabe wrote:

Thanks, Dianarose.  That is what I am afraid of.  I have been on the fence for double Mastectomy.  Mine is so early, it all seems to be so much.  No one has mentioned oncotype but I sure am.

If you aren't in a major urban area, I have doubts about how advanced our beast centers are.  I could go to U. of Michigan but it would be an hour and a half each way.

Dx 3/15/2012, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+Surgery 05/01/2012 Lumpectomy (Left)
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May 20, 2012 02:04AM Dianarose wrote:

Infobabe- I have to head out to work, but I wll PM you this evening.

6/10/13 mets to ovary now stage IV

Dx 3/22/2012, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIIc, Grade 2, 17/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy 05/31/2012 Cytoxan, fluorouracil, methotrexateRadiation Therapy 12/03/2012 3-D conformal external beam radiationHormonal Therapy 08/10/2013 Aromasin
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May 20, 2012 06:57AM bevin wrote:

I have right lung damage from rads. a 3cm x 6cm area of fibrosis. They measure it every 6 months, no change. I understand once it goes to a fibrosis it wont get better. My only symptoms are a heaviness on the right side and I cough alot when I laugh and excercise.

Age 45, Oncotype 11, Primary Tumor 2.1 cm, smaller satellite tumor nearby

Dx 8/8/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 08/10/2010 Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Radiation Therapy 10/10/2010 External
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May 20, 2012 09:07AM, edited May 21, 2012 08:00AM by Infobabe

bevin 

You say ""once it goes to a fibrosis it wont get better."  Can not they remove it surgically?  I suppose not since it is the lung we are talking about.

Dx 3/15/2012, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+Surgery 05/01/2012 Lumpectomy (Left)
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May 26, 2012 01:47PM Infobabe wrote:

I have another question.  Does the position of where the DCIS was removed have a bearing on the radiation treatment?

In my case, the position is high, about 12:30 and close to the surface.  Is it easier to avoid frying the lung and heart which are deeper and lower? 

Dx 3/15/2012, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+Surgery 05/01/2012 Lumpectomy (Left)
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Jun 5, 2012 06:30PM, edited Jun 5, 2012 06:40PM by HealingDreams

I don't think that the location of the tumor matters because all of the breast tissue is at risk and is irradiated. Remember that breast tissue extends beyond what we usually think of as the breast.

My radiologist told me that there will be lung damage because the lungs are so close to the chest wall and the lungs are very sensitive to radiation. But, she said, we have lots of lung capacity and there is only a 1% risk of cough and shortness of breath.

Interestingly, she didn't give me the statistics related to heart damage but said that the risk had been significantly reduced by new technology. She does a CT scan before radiation to determine exactly where the heart is. If it is close to the chest wall, they do IMRT, also known as curved radiation, in order to avoid the heart.

She also told me that the OncotypeDX test does provide risk-benefit information for DCIS and radiation. You will definitely want to have that information.

For IDC, my cancer, there is only the general information that there is a 20% chance of local recurrence without radiation and only a 5% chance with it. That is actually decisive for me. I won, as we all did, the 12.5% lottery (1 in 8 women). I don't like that 20% number.

I'm not in a major metropolitan area (250,000 people) and no medical school. But I trust the radiation oncologist. I think she's smart and careful. She has to work with a whole team to set up the equipment and she believes the team is good. She said that she wouldn't have come to the facility where I am getting treatment if she didn't believe that they were excellent.  

Oncotype score: 8; 50 grays of radiation over 25 sessions

Dx 4/23/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 05/16/2012 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Hormonal Therapy 06/14/2012 ArimidexRadiation Therapy 06/19/2012 External
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Jun 5, 2012 06:50PM Infobabe wrote:

 HealingDreams

Thanks for that info.

I have since seen my MO and when I asked about Oncotype she said "You'r not getting it."  And she also said that a person has to be on Tomoxifen to get the Oncotpe.  This is untrue.  So she was lying or is uninformed.  My RO said "they don't do that." Actually, it was a staff person who relayed the message.  I asked who "they" was, doctor, hospital, ?, and she didn't know.

I see the RO June 11 for a simulation.  I am tempted to refuse radiaton altogether.  The lumpectomy got all the DCIS, grade 1, out with wide margins and I will give Tomoxifen a try.  I think this is such overkill and I am going to come out of this worse than I started.  The cure is worse than the disease. 

Dx 3/15/2012, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+Surgery 05/01/2012 Lumpectomy (Left)
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Jun 5, 2012 06:51PM deborye wrote:

No problem here.  Just passed my 5 year cancerversary.

~~~Deb~~~NEVER GIVE UP/NEVER SURRENDER**IDC 6mm & DCIS 7mm

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Jun 5, 2012 07:01PM Infobabe wrote:

deborye

Is this your right or left breast?  And you had how many rads? 

Dx 3/15/2012, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+Surgery 05/01/2012 Lumpectomy (Left)
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Jun 8, 2012 06:18PM deborye wrote:

Left breast.  I think it was 26 and 5 boosts. 

I did spend most of Memorial Day weekend in the hospital with Breast Cellulitis.  Was given Vancomycin IV 3 treatments every 24 hours.  I can't believe after 5 years this happens.  A radiated breast can not fight off bacteria because the tissue is damaged. A small break in the skin from a bug bite or scratch can cause this.  I love to work in my yard and garden, some how I must have itched my tata not realizing it with dirt on my hand or glove.  I am still on antibiotics.  

Sorry to get off the topic. Foot in mouth 

~~~Deb~~~NEVER GIVE UP/NEVER SURRENDER**IDC 6mm & DCIS 7mm

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Jun 8, 2012 06:48PM, edited Jun 9, 2012 03:55AM by Infobabe

deborye 

Thanks for that response.

That is scary about the radiated breast being vunerable to infection.

Did you have any heart or lung damage? 

Dx 3/15/2012, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+Surgery 05/01/2012 Lumpectomy (Left)
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Jun 12, 2012 05:46PM mamglam wrote:

I finished radiation 6 weeks ago and did have some issues with burns from the treatment.  That sent me to a wound care clinic for nearly 3 weeks daily (this was after finishing rads).  Last week, I saw the RO for a follow-up appt and found my breast to be warm and red.  She put me on antibiotics for a week and to reassess again this week.  At my appt. today, the breast is still the same - red and warm!  The RO has recommended a change of antibiotics and to again, reassess next week.  These news have made me emotional and tears just keep coming... 

Dx 12/29/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 12, 2012 06:25PM Cindyl wrote:

I am sorry that you are still having problems!  Hope things get better soon.

Stay calm, have courage and watch for signs.

Dx 2/11/2012, IDC, 3cm, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 03/01/2012 Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection, Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Radiation Therapy 04/16/2012 ExternalHormonal Therapy 05/23/2012 Tamoxifen
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Jun 12, 2012 06:55PM mamglam wrote:

Thanks for your support Cindyl!

Dx 12/29/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 12, 2012 07:35PM, edited Aug 24, 2012 07:54AM by Infobabe

mamglam

Me too.  I am so very sorry.  My heart goes out to you and it could be me too.  That is why I have asked the question.

Dx 3/15/2012, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+Surgery 05/01/2012 Lumpectomy (Left)
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Aug 23, 2012 09:12PM clam2010 wrote:

I am a 4 year breast cancer survivor.  I had 2 lumpectomies on my right breast and 13 lymph nodes removed.  All of them were clear.  I had 6.5 weeks of radiation but no chemotherapy.  I started experiencing shortness of breath.  I had a cardio work up and pulmonary function test.  Both showed very minor problems, like super mild COPD.  I started an inhaler but it didn't help.  I have had thyroid problems for 15 years.  Since the cancer/radiation, the thyroid stimulator hormone is constantly fluctuating.  I have my blood checked every 6 weeks and usually need to adjust the thyroid meds.  I have had 3 CT scans of my chest and the radiologist found nodules on my lungs.  The doctor suspects the radiation damaged my airways and I now have a new inhaler which appears to be helping.

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Aug 24, 2012 12:27PM, edited Aug 24, 2012 12:28PM by Infobabe

 clam2010 

Thank you for sharing your story with rads.  

At the time I created this thread I was trying to figure out if I should go ahead with them or not.  Because if stories like yours I decided to not go through with rads even though I had gone so far as to have the simulation. I expected to then have a mastectomy.  With the benefit of a 2nd opinion from Dr.  Michael Lagious, I decided against a mastectomy too.

I know the path I took is not for everyone, no two cases are the same, but I do believe it was the right one for me.   Many women breeze through with rads, no problem.  I saw my primary physician a few days ago and she approves of what I have done as does my MO.

I very much regret what happened to you.  You apparently had invasive breast cancer so drastic treatment would be recommended.  An alternative would have been a mastectomy.  That is frightening and irreversible so I know why women shrink from it.  I did.  But I think the medical community should push that first instead of rads.

Best wishes to you and I am very grateful that you posted on this thread. 

Dx 3/15/2012, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+Surgery 05/01/2012 Lumpectomy (Left)
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Aug 24, 2012 01:19PM, edited Aug 24, 2012 01:20PM by slousha

This Post was deleted by slousha.
Dx 11/13/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 7/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Aug 24, 2012 01:20PM slousha wrote:

Hi infobabe,

I have had 25 + 5 left breast radiation in summer 2010 on a linear accelerator. Because of being on Herceptin at the same time I'm in a study - controlling heart issues every year. This year too my check up was completely OK without any signs of heart damage. I'm about your age!

Best

Usha

Dx 11/13/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 7/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Sep 3, 2012 01:05PM Infobabe wrote:

 slousha 

Thank you for that post.  It will give encouragement to women starting with rads. 

Dx 3/15/2012, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+Surgery 05/01/2012 Lumpectomy (Left)