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Topic: Radiation Pneumonitis

Forum: Stage III Breast Cancer — You are not alone. Meet others who have Stage III breast cancer.

Posted on: Feb 14, 2014 12:47AM - edited Apr 3, 2015 08:44PM by peacestrength

peacestrength wrote:

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2013, IDC Stage 3a
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Feb 15, 2014 11:35PM weesa wrote:

Yes, I had radiation pneumonitis.  About 3 months after finishing radiation I got a cold and a strange scraping feeling when I breathed. I thought it was pleurisy. A cat scan diagnosed a small section of my pleura was scorched from radiation. I was given the choice of taking steroids until it cleared up or an over the counter anti-inflammatory. Nobody at my onc's seemed to think it as a big deal.

Sometimes I wonder if I am an old soul temporarily trapped in a breast cancer body. Dx 11/22/2002, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 5/25 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/20/2003 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 6/14/2003 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 8/23/2003 Femara (letrozole) Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap
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Feb 16, 2014 11:50AM Momine wrote:

I had what felt like asthma about 6 months out from rads. I would start walking and after 10 minutes I would have trouble breathing. The docs immediately ordered CT and MUGA (to rule out heart damage from epirubicin). They found nothing. The symptoms subsided, but a year later scarring on the lung did show on CT (routine CT). Onc was not concerned and since I have had no further trouble, neither am I.

Dx 6/1/2011, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 7/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 6/20/2011 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 9/13/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy 1/9/2012 Surgery 3/8/2012 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2012 Femara (letrozole)
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Feb 16, 2014 03:20PM - edited Apr 3, 2015 08:44PM by peacestrength

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Feb 16, 2014 03:45PM encyclias wrote:

peacestrength, when I had my year follow-up PET scan this past Oct, the doctor who has the imaging center I go to -- and whom I trust and adore -- asked when I had finished my rads.  I said 'two months ago,' and her reply was that what was showing up on the PET scan was just an echo of the rad treatments and nothing was wrong with my lung.  She was the first to bring PET scans to this area, long before the three major hospitals offered them.

I don't know how long the rads will continue to show up on scans, forgot to ask her, but this may hopefully have something to do with what is showing up on your scans.

Best of luck

Carol

Dx 10/5/2012, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 10/16/2012 AC Surgery 4/8/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 6/10/2013 Breast
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Feb 19, 2014 09:47PM - edited Apr 3, 2015 08:45PM by peacestrength

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Feb 20, 2014 06:54PM jennyboog wrote:

Yes, kind of....I've had stuff in my left lung show up since rads but never had a dx name for it.  I always seem to have some type of inflammation or hot spot that never turns out to be nothing....lets hope it stays that way.

IDC, IBC & BRCA1+...Cancer touched my breast, so I kicked it's butt! Dx 7/28/2010, IDC/IBC, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 5/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 21, 2014 01:12AM bevin wrote:

Hi there, just some input to the rads cause pneumonities: I believe from my discussion with my pulmonologist that radiation pneumonitis does not go away. Its permanent damage that usually turns in to fibrosis.  They can watch the change on your scans.  Ask about this as I believe the steroids help reduce the inflamation but the damage is done and as I understand not repairable.  Someone may come along with different information than me but this is my understanding.

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 8/10/2010 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/10/2010 Breast
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Feb 21, 2014 02:27PM jennyboog wrote:

Thanks for the input Bevin.  I've never had an actual dx but they always seem to mention something in my lung so maybe it's not the same.  Funny you should mention fibrosis...I have also had problems with my neck and underneath my jawline since rads and I've always described it as fibrosis tissue.  It is a tight and pulling sensation and feels hard.  They didn't use a lead sheild over my neck and I think it got some scatter rads in my opinion.

IDC, IBC & BRCA1+...Cancer touched my breast, so I kicked it's butt! Dx 7/28/2010, IDC/IBC, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 5/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 21, 2014 04:26PM - edited Apr 3, 2015 08:45PM by peacestrength

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Feb 21, 2014 05:23PM sbelizabeth wrote:

Jennyboog--no lead shield over my neck either, and I'm 100% positive the scatter radiation destroyed my thyroid.  I'll take synthroid now the rest of my life.  I wonder why they didn't shield my neck?  They weren't radiating anything up there for cancer treatment.  It pi**es me off, just a bit.

pinkribbonandwheels.wordpress.... Dx 10/20/2011, IDC/IBC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 6/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 12/15/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/18/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/21/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 7/19/2012 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/15/2013 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Feb 22, 2014 07:18PM - edited Feb 22, 2014 07:24PM by jennyboog

Dang! sbelizabeth...I thought my pulling sensation was bad but the thyroid...ouch :(  Never even crossed my mind to ask about a neck shield during rads, makes me mad because I know better.


peace...You mentioned sarcoidosis, that was mentioned as a possible dx during my last "biopsy scare event".  Did you have it before BC?  It doesn't seem to end for us, with the biopsies and etc.  It can be so hard to move on with life when you keep getting pulled back into it. 

IDC, IBC & BRCA1+...Cancer touched my breast, so I kicked it's butt! Dx 7/28/2010, IDC/IBC, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 5/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 22, 2014 08:05PM stage1 wrote:

hello, ladies.  Just wanted to say, I, too, asked for a shield during radiation.  The RO said we don't do that.  As I was very intimadated and vulnerable, I did not pursue it.   I later bought my own lead shield to cover my neck for future mammograms.  

Dx 4/1/2011, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 7/18/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast
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Feb 23, 2014 07:53PM - edited Apr 3, 2015 08:46PM by peacestrength

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Feb 23, 2014 08:15PM slv58 wrote:

I'm another one who is sure rads destroyed my thyroid-my endocrinologist thinks so also. I complained about a feeling of a lump in my throat within the first week of rads and was told that they were not even close to my thyroid, but may be exposed to scatter radiation and will probably go away with time. Well 6 months later blood tests confirm I'm very hypo. I don't understand why a thyroid shield isn't offered.

Shari "my clouds are always silver" Chemotherapy 1/23/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 6/7/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 7/5/2013 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 3/10/2015 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Chemotherapy 4/22/2015 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Gemzar (gemcitabine)
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Feb 23, 2014 08:48PM stage1 wrote:

my thoughts...a thyroid shield costs time.  Each shield put on would take a minute to put on.  I bought one and bring it in for my mammogram.  Also, the tech in Kaiser said they get dirty.

Dx 4/1/2011, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 7/18/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast
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Feb 25, 2014 12:28AM jennyboog wrote:

Thanks peace...The biopsy I had to LN's behind sternum showed a granuloma and I was told you get those from sarcoidosis but I have no other symptoms.  So, not sure and the dr's didn't seem to know either.  I'm going to speak to my primary care dr.  Thanks again.

IDC, IBC & BRCA1+...Cancer touched my breast, so I kicked it's butt! Dx 7/28/2010, IDC/IBC, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 5/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 11, 2014 01:39AM Bexter3 wrote:

I get radiation pneumonitis a few times per year. Finally talked doc into getting my own nebulizer so I can prevent complications and pneumonia. Every couple of years have your doc monitor your lungs for fibrosing. You will do fine if you get on top of the pneumonitis before it sets in. Hang tough! On 4th year, 3rd month from diagnosis, and have had it probably 10-12 times. Hugs!

Dx 12/31/2009, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 23/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 1/22/2010 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 1/22/2010 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 6/6/2010 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 7/5/2010 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 9/16/2010 Hormonal Therapy 7/15/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Mar 11, 2014 01:52AM melmcbee wrote:

Wow, I feel like a fool. I'm a radiological technologist and didn't even think about asking for a shield. Huh. I have a healed rib fracture from coughing and severe pain from the nerve that runs on my rib cage at my bra line area. I just had my second set of nerve blocks for that problem but I swear I feel like my rib cage is damaged from radiation and it feels like I keep having another broken rib but nothing showed up on xray.  Hope everyone is doing well.

Melanie Dx 6/24/2012, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 8/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/9/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 8/9/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 8/23/2012 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 1/9/2013 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 5/30/2013 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 12/4/2013 Reconstruction (right) Dx 3/29/2017, ILC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR- Dx 11/19/2019, ILC, Stage IV, metastasized to other, ER-/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 8/19/2020 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Immunotherapy Tecentriq (atezolizumab) Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant) Chemotherapy Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Mar 11, 2014 02:02AM stage1 wrote:

I, too, get rib cage pain.  Ribs feel like they are rubber bending.  I also have throat and cough, I am fearing lung problems.  So, will they x-ray me ...more radiation?  I see my MO this month, and am due for a mammogram.  

Dx 4/1/2011, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 7/18/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast
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Aug 21, 2014 02:00PM - edited Apr 3, 2015 08:46PM by peacestrength

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Aug 21, 2014 03:17PM sbelizabeth wrote:

Peace, we'll hope and pray with you! 

Since I was eager to throw the kitchen sink at my cancer, I'm glad of all the treatments and technology offered me.  It would have been great, though, if the unpleasant side effect, mostly from the rads, weren't so permanent.  My pectoral muscle is like tight beef jerky, my shoulder is wonky, and I have a radiation burn scar behind my arm that will forever limit the range of motion of my arm.

About scatter...when I was doing rads, I wanted to just zone out and be gone during the twenty-or-so minutes each treatment took.  I plugged in my iPOD and laid a buckwheat-filled eyemask over my eyes.  But I noticed (and this is SO creepy) that when the humming-buzzing of the machine indicated the radiation was being delivered, the eyemask lit up with a weird glow that I could see, even with my eyes closed.  So I asked my RO about it.  He looked concerned, and said, "The filling in the eyemask is somehow concentrating the scattered radiation and lighting up.  Don't wear it."

So if radiation scatter made it all the way to the level of my eyes, why would they NOT shield my thyroid? 

pinkribbonandwheels.wordpress.... Dx 10/20/2011, IDC/IBC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 6/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 12/15/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/18/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/21/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 7/19/2012 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/15/2013 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Aug 21, 2014 04:07PM eric95us wrote:

Ask if there are any strong electric fields around the machine when it is delivering radiation.  If so, perhaps it was the electric field making the eyemask material floresce.

Eric

husband of slawson
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Aug 21, 2014 08:43PM - edited Apr 3, 2015 08:47PM by peacestrength

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Aug 22, 2014 05:26PM - edited Apr 3, 2015 08:46PM by peacestrength

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Aug 22, 2014 06:27PM shoppygirl wrote:

Peace 

I don't have any symptoms of lung issues but I do have a 6mm nodule that they are following. 

One of my co workers wife had radiation pneumonitis after radiation for about two years. If she got out of breath it would be very hard for her to recover from it. Not sure if she had nodules but I do remember my rad oncologist telling me that lung damage is very common after rads. 

I can completly understand the stress this is causing as I am due for my year follow up scan on my nodule next month. I have already had one follow up scan and there was no change but I am still scared. It seems like every time the scan me they find some other weird thing. Last time they found a thyriod nodule that was benign but still, enough already!  

Hugs to you! 

Less than 2mm of cancer in the sentinel lymph node. Dx 1/27/2013, IDC, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+, HER2- Surgery 2/28/2013 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 4/9/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 8/12/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 8/20/2013 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 1/30/2014 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 9/26/2015 Reconstruction (left): Saline implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Saline implant, Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 10/16/2015 Femara (letrozole)
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Aug 22, 2014 07:14PM rosecal954 wrote:

Peace,

I finished 30 external radiation treatments in Jan. Just a few days into my treatments my chest felt varying degrees of burning or heaviness which would come and go.  Radiation oncologist said since the radiation is slightly clipping my right lung that is normal and should go away after treatment stops.  Seven months later the heaviness is still here now and then and just recently am noticing this feeling is usually more pronounced later in the day. I do not seem to be short of breath, but perhaps slightly more fatigued.  My lungs hurt a little on a deep breath when I feel this heaviness. I walk a couple of miles a day and am an active 59 year old and otherwise in excellent health.  I am a slightly anxious person anyway, but my body is telling me this is from the radiation, not all anxiety.  I also experienced burning sensations on other parts of my body and half way through radiation the techs put a thyroid shield on me but said it won't do any good. My hair thinned slightly as well, noticing more strands of hair in my comb and also have had tingling on the top of my head, like a crawling sensation.  We asked the radiation physicist about the symptoms and he said I must be sensitive to the radiation, but the machines do not scatter.  Well this has been my experience and I am coming up on my one year cancer anniversary trying very hard to put this behind me and move on.  Hope this helps a little for you and wish you good health.

First Dx age 58, recurrence 2/2020 Dx 8/21/2013, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 1/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 9/16/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 12/10/2013 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 2/10/2020, DCIS, Right, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+ Surgery 4/7/2020 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Dx 5/4/2020, IDC: Tubular, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Aug 22, 2014 07:24PM april485 wrote:

I had shortness of breath a few times after finishing rads and one night it was so bad, I had my husband bring me to the ER as I just could not breathe! They did a CT scan and said that I had a little bit of an emphesemic lung on the left (my bc side) and because I had been a former smoker, I assumed it was from that.

I followed up with my PCP who put me through my paces (exercise) and then nebulized me and found that my breathing improved by 40% after the treatment. She said I have "situational asthma" and gave me an inhaler and told me to always carry it with me. Asthma? Suddenly? At my age? Did not make sense.

I take aromasin and some others that take this have had shortness of breath, but I think it is from the rads. My RO says no way but I was told they could not keep my lung completely out of the field and the dosimetry report showed a small corner of my lung would receive rads despite them trying to keep it out. That little "corner" was the same spot that the hospital told me I had  a little bit of emphysema! Soooo, not sure what to think...

"Fear has been a huge dictator in my life - so I am trying to stage a coup!" ~ a friend Dx 1/30/2013, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/20/2013 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 3/10/2013 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 4/21/2013 3DCRT: Breast Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2013 Aromasin (exemestane) Hormonal Therapy 1/1/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Aug 22, 2014 07:27PM - edited Apr 3, 2015 08:47PM by peacestrength

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Aug 22, 2014 07:38PM - edited Apr 3, 2015 08:47PM by peacestrength

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Aug 22, 2014 09:41PM rosecal954 wrote:

peacestreng, I have not been to the doctor yet; it's not that bad; I doubt if they would order an x-ray or CT, probably wait and see.

First Dx age 58, recurrence 2/2020 Dx 8/21/2013, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 1/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 9/16/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 12/10/2013 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 2/10/2020, DCIS, Right, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+ Surgery 4/7/2020 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Dx 5/4/2020, IDC: Tubular, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole)

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