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Topic: Radiation side effects?

Forum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During, and After —

What to expect from treatment and ways to cope with side effects.

Posted on: Nov 8, 2019 07:38AM

Kfmama2 wrote:

Hi,

I just had my 3rd treatment out of 20.I’m doing deep breath holds during treatments to move my heart out of the way. Yesterday after my second treatment, I had a bad headache, mild nausea, and brain fog. I had a lumpectomy a month ago and no chemo. Today I told the tech that I didn’t feel great yesterday and she said that the radiation would not have caused those symptoms. Anyone else feel flu-ish after radiation? Thanks

Dx 8/16/2019, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 9/25/2019 Lumpectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy
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Nov 10, 2019 03:25PM Mymomsgirl wrote:

Kfmama2 I did the deep breath holds and had no issues except once or twice I felt like I couldn't hold my breath the whole time , but I did it, I'm sure it was anxiety. Have you started any medication yet, like Tamoxifen, that can have those side effects.

Good luck with your remaining treatments.

DX @ 47, the same age as my mother. Surgery was Oncoplastic with IORT and my Oncotype score is a 9. Dx 10/29/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 12/18/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Surgery 12/18/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 1/24/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 3/19/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Nov 10, 2019 03:51PM - edited Nov 10, 2019 03:51PM by gb2115

This Post was deleted by gb2115.
Dx IDC in October 2016, stage 2A, 1.2 cm ER/PR+ Her2-, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes. Mammaprint low risk luminal A, Lumpectomy + radiation + tamoxifen. Age 38 at diagnosis.
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Nov 10, 2019 04:03PM JO-5 wrote:

I had my radiation back in 04. They assured me that no way would it cause nausea.....but everyone is different.

I drove myself everyday and after the first day when I got so sick driving home, I learned to take crackers and ginger ale.

I would eat the crackers and drink the ginger ale in the car before heading home, then take about an hour nap as soon as I got home.

Yes indeed it made me nauseous and sick.

On the weekends I was ok, so I know it was the rads.....but they never would admit it was possible.

JO-5

Org dx 04 lumpectomy rads arimidex stage 1 grade 3 no nodes er+pr+her- 2014 rads induced angiosarcoma, wide excision 2015 angio recurrence, rt mast. Lat flap, 1/3 flap went necrotic, skin graft leg to chest Seeing dr every 3 to 6 months.
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Nov 10, 2019 04:20PM Sara536 wrote:

I so don’t get it when doctors deny or fail to mention possible and known side effects. Do they really think that side effects are “all in our heads” or that warning us will trigger a psychosomatic side effect? Once they have disassociated themselves and the treatments they have prescribed from our actual experience then aren’t they making it difficult to treat or provide relief? So much for trust...


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Nov 10, 2019 04:24PM Kfmama2 wrote:

Thanks for the validation JO-5!

Mymomsgirl, I haven’t started taking any meds yet.

Dx 8/16/2019, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 9/25/2019 Lumpectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy
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Nov 10, 2019 06:58PM Kamboka wrote:

KFmama2: I had mild nausea about three weeks into radiation. I swore it was caused from rads but the RO said it wasn't. He said it was probably reflux. He prescribed something for the reflux and, sure enough, it stopped the nausea. I haven't had any nausea since and I'm finishing my six weeks tomorrow. Good luck.

Dx 1/4/2019, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 3/15/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 7/9/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Surgery 7/23/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary
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Nov 10, 2019 07:14PM JO-5 wrote:

Pain or difficulty swallowing and heartburn. If your esophagus is in the area being treated, it may become inflamed. ... Some people also get heartburn from radiation to this area. These side effects usually begin the second or third week of treatment.

Radiation Therapy to the Chest | Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


I just posted this portion but it is a very long article. I just googled "does radiation cause acid reflux."

JO-5

Org dx 04 lumpectomy rads arimidex stage 1 grade 3 no nodes er+pr+her- 2014 rads induced angiosarcoma, wide excision 2015 angio recurrence, rt mast. Lat flap, 1/3 flap went necrotic, skin graft leg to chest Seeing dr every 3 to 6 months.
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Nov 11, 2019 09:52AM gb2115 wrote:

I had a lot of nausea too. Ignore them when they say it's impossible. I also had a scratchy throat the entire time, which went away not long after stopping radiation.

Dx IDC in October 2016, stage 2A, 1.2 cm ER/PR+ Her2-, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes. Mammaprint low risk luminal A, Lumpectomy + radiation + tamoxifen. Age 38 at diagnosis.
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Nov 12, 2019 12:07PM Bess57 wrote:

I had a very upset stomach and vague nausea and the Radiation Oncologist was vehement that it was not caused by partial breast radiation. When I told her I also had fatigue, she said that was not possible. That type of response from a health care provider is irresponsible.

I agree with gb2115, ignore them. You know what you are experiencing.

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Nov 12, 2019 12:13PM Kfmama2 wrote:

I asked the nurse (as opposed to the radiation therapist) today and she said the same thing. It can’t possibly be from the radiation. At least the nurse said she would confirm with the doctor and get back to me, but I agree that it’s irresponsible. When I look it up on multiple places online, nausea is listed as a rare but possible side effect. I don’t understand why they are dismissing me. It’s so frustrating

Dx 8/16/2019, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 9/25/2019 Lumpectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy
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Nov 12, 2019 12:16PM SparkleGirl2018 wrote:

I did have nausea and an achy body. Radiologist had me take prilosec daily which did help. And drink A LOT of water. I could tell a big difference in how I felt when I really hydrated. I just kept water with me all day and felt better overall. Good luck with your remaining treatments. I am a little over a month out from having 30 treatments and feel so much better now!!

Dx 11/29/2018, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, 2/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/22/2019 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 3/14/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/20/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery Reconstruction (left): Saline implant; Reconstruction (right): Saline implant
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Nov 12, 2019 12:23PM mitziandbubba wrote:

I felt all of those things during radiation and it happened after 3 days. The effect was not cumulative, I felt AWFUL. I think I was so glad to escape chemo that I assumed radiation would be easy.

Drinking TONS of water as SparkleGirl mentioned helped. Also eating a lot of protein. I gained some weight during radiation.

Surgery 5/9/2019 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 5/29/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Dx IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast
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Nov 13, 2019 05:27AM Wiggy84 wrote:

hiya. I finished my Radiotherapy 8 weeks ago . In the first week i felt a bit nauseated but they told me it was the Tamoxifen that i had started taking.Since finishing the 19 treatments i have been cold . Not just cold but very cold ! Ive gone from someone who was always warm to someone condidering wearing gloves indoors 🙄 im wondering if its somehow linked to the radiotherapy /Tamoxifen ? Has anyone else found this has happened to them ?

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Nov 13, 2019 08:52AM Moderators wrote:

Dear Wiggy84,

Welcome to the BCO community. We are sorry for your breast cancer and the treatment side effects but so glad that you reached out to our members for their support. You may also want to check out the Bottle of Tamoxifen Topic in the Hormonal Therapy Forum for more input around effects of Tamoxifen. Let us know if we can be of assistance in helping you to get connected and to stay active here.

The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Nov 14, 2019 05:56PM Bess57 wrote:

Thank you very much for your reply posts. I really appreciate them. I am so glad to be part of this community. Good luck to all.

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Nov 14, 2019 06:10PM DorothyB wrote:

I had nausea from radiation - not severe, but sort of "car sick" feeling. MD Anderson's website says that can be a side effect of radiation but my radiologist said it wasn't.

Diag. 4/19/2019 ER+ PR+ HER2 neg Lumpectomy 5/29/2019 IDC w/ DICS 2.0 cm Grade 3
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Nov 14, 2019 07:07PM Kfmama2 wrote:

I finally talked to my RO. He asked me more about the nausea and I said it happened almost immediately after radiation. He said, “well then I think we have to assume the radiation is causing the nausea.” I’m glad he didn’t dismiss me. He took the time to show me images on the computer to show that my stomach is outside the field of radiation but agreed it could be a possible side effect. I also told him of the “brain fog” I have been having. He says he has heard that before but can’t explain it. Luckily, both of these side effects have been better over the past couple of days.

Dx 8/16/2019, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 9/25/2019 Lumpectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy
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Nov 14, 2019 09:32PM Sara536 wrote:

There’s nothing like having your experience validated! A doctor who listens with an open mind builds trust.!

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Nov 15, 2019 01:17AM AliceBastable wrote:

My radiation was late last year. I didn't have nausea, but the RO said the left side whole breast radiation would not harm my heart or lungs, and that it was precisely platted on the computer to miss those organs. I had to see a cardiothoracic surgeon in June for an unrelated matter. I mentioned the radiation (thinking more about the skin, should surgery be necessary), and he said it was good that I'd brought it up because of the heart damage it could cause. When I told him what the RO had said, he just gave me a pitying look and shook his head, gently explaining that there's always SOME damage. Then I had a chest and abdomen CT for another issue (yep, I'm falling apart!), and that showed a little scarring smudge on my left lung, new since the CT I had last year. My oncologist said it was from radiation. So I guess the RO lied through his teeth.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Cancer's a bitch, but I'm a bigger one with more practice. Dx 5/2018, ILC/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Nov 15, 2019 11:37AM gb2115 wrote:

I wonder if the nausea is just due to stress on the body. I mean, it doesn't matter that the radiation beams only hit your breast, your body is still going to mobilize what it needs to, in order to fix the damage. I feel like that could cause a systemic nausea. And if you think about it, nausea isn't necessarily caused by only one organ. It doesn't happen only because something is wrong with your stomach. I get it from headaches, inner ear things like car sickness, and stress--morning sickness during pregnancy, medications, etc. So it's not like it will only happen during radiation if a specific body part is radiated. Anyway, I always felt that was what caused it. I have no scientific proof of any of this, it's just something I've thought about a lot. I could be wrong though, who knows.

I had a scratchy throat for most of radiation as well, and it caused dry gums and dry eyes. The MO, the dentist, and the eye doctor all said that radiation "scatter" is real, and can cause side effects. For my nausea, the radiation oncologist and the nurse suggested that I had the flu. When I pointed out that one doesn't have the flu for 6 weeks with no other symptoms like a fever, with symptom improvement over the weekend only to start back over on Monday afternoon (several hours after treatment), they really couldn't say much. They stuck by their flu theory and I'm still disappointed by it. You would think an RN and MD would know better.

Dx IDC in October 2016, stage 2A, 1.2 cm ER/PR+ Her2-, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes. Mammaprint low risk luminal A, Lumpectomy + radiation + tamoxifen. Age 38 at diagnosis.
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Nov 15, 2019 04:41PM - edited Nov 15, 2019 04:43PM by JO-5

gb2115,

Interesting you mention scatter. The tech doing my rads told me that as hard as they try radiation does not stay in just one spot it kind of reaches its lowest point like water.

I have had esophageal problems ever since my rads were over in 04. When I eat I have phlegm. Not a lot and not every time. My dr and PO said it was from radiation. It is much much better now, but back then very scary.

I have a friend that went through rads about the same time I did. She has been dx w/chronic fatigue and her PCP thinks it is from rads.

Then there is radiation recall. It often presents as a rash, or the sick/nausea thing.

JO-5

Org dx 04 lumpectomy rads arimidex stage 1 grade 3 no nodes er+pr+her- 2014 rads induced angiosarcoma, wide excision 2015 angio recurrence, rt mast. Lat flap, 1/3 flap went necrotic, skin graft leg to chest Seeing dr every 3 to 6 months.

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