Come join others currently navigating treatment in our weekly Zoom Meetup! Register here: Tuesdays, 1pm ET.
Fill Out Your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...

Can radiation miss its target?

I'm having the five day accelerated partial radiation treatment on my right breast. Did # 3 yesterday. But I'm worried because after #1 and #2 treatments the opposite side of my breast turned sunburned red but not the area where my lumpectomy was. I see my radiologist next Wednesday after my last treatment and will bring up my concerns then but I'm wondering if this has happened to anyone else. I'm worried that the radiation was not targeted correctly on the cancer site. This is a partial treatment, not full breast.

Comments

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 765

    Hi @pinkrules , Radiation actually hits more than its target. The beams are aimed at the target but continue on through to exit which can cause redness elsewhere. My RO actually drew me a diagram of everything that was in my radiation field and it included peripheral areas and organs. I would definitely bring this up at your appointment but this is what I was told in advance so I wasn't surprised. I hope the rest of your treatment goes well.

  • pinkrules
    pinkrules Member Posts: 91

    maggie15, thank you. My concern is that the area of the cancer was not red at all, just a normal color. It seems it should also be sunburned from the radiation. I brought up my concerns during my last session yesterday and they seemed confused and didn't know why the other side of my breast was red. That alarmed me! So they made sure the radiation targeted the site so I wouldn't worry and reassured me afterward that it did. Sure enough, I'm sunburned there today, the correct site. So that kinda proves to me that they indeed missed the correct site the first two times. I'll let you know what the radiologist thinks next Wednesday. Geeze, we do not need more worries!

  • pinkrules
    pinkrules Member Posts: 91

    See my above post to you! I'm still learning how to post to someone.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 765

    @pinkrules , I'm glad you let the techs know about your concern. Your RO can check the settings of what was done to make sure you got the right dose in the right place. Hopefully you won't need any extra sessions but that would be better than being undertreated. We have to look out for ourselves even when we're not the experts. Let us know what happens.

  • pinkrules
    pinkrules Member Posts: 91

    Thanks. I don't mind extra sessions of radiation to get it right! In fact, I'm calling Monday morning to voice my concerns to the nurse there, not wait until the last treatment, so they can check things out. I do feel like I might insult them or look like an alarmist, but like you said, we need to look out for ourselves! "Wrong-site radiation treatment" does happen. I never thought of it until I noticed the sunburn on the opposite side of the cancer area.

  • pinkrules
    pinkrules Member Posts: 91

    Hi Maggie! Everything worked out. The area where the cancer was is now sunburned to my relief. My radiologist also does the surrounding area around the location of the cancer with radiation, that's why the redness on the other side. Today was my last day!

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 765

    Hi @pinkrules , I'm so glad the correct treatment was done. Do something special to celebrate your last day!

  • pinkrules
    pinkrules Member Posts: 91

    Everyone was wonderful! They gave me a certificate for completing radiation, had me read a special poem hanging on the wall, and ring a bell three times! They all came out to watch and congratulate me. I cried! I brought them a box of chocolates for my last day. Next is the oncologist appt for a hormonal treatment plan.