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Thread: Side effect of radiotherapy

  1. #1
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    Side effect of radiotherapy

    Hi all,

    I would like to list down the side effect of radiotherapy that my father received for the 1st week :

    1. Diarrhoea
    2. Mild middle abdominal pain
    3. Back pain

    Do you have the same issue? Or do you have any other side effect? Please share and how do you solve the side effect?

    Back pain issue is common? Because I heard from one of the pancreatic patient at the same hospital, the diseases in progress that cause the back pain, so worry about that.
    Aug 2016 - Father (62) dx stage 3 PC confirmed by EUS + Biopsy
    Sep 2016 - PET/CT result showed there is another lung nodule on the scan , Biopsy the lung nodule, it was other primary cancer
    Oct 2016 - Whipple cancelled , confirmed spread to liver, process with Triple Bypass
    Nov 2016 to Dec 2017 - Start Gem + Abrax 3 weeks ON 1 week OFF
    Jan 2017 - PET/CT clear, showed nothing ( chemo break for lung infection treatment )
    Feb 2017 to March 2017 - Finished the 4th cycle of the treatments and scheduled the PET/CT scan ( result show no more hypermetabolic activity lesions were seen in pancreas, liver, and lung )
    End of April 2017 - Finished the 6th cycle , scheduled for the PET/CT on May 2017
    May 2017 - PET/CT show pancreas and liver no hypermetabolic activity but there was a nodule on the right lung which is NSLC , same position from the 1st PET/CT , Dr suggested RT / SBRT
    June 2017 - IMRT , 20x 55gy doses to the right lung

  2. #2
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    Hello, I'm not sure if it applies to radiotherapy but my mother in law got a lot of loose stools since her chemo, to the extent that she needs to wear a diaper not to mess herself in case of an accident. It was quite a big change for her because ever since I knew her (over 20 years now) she always complained of constipation, she used to go every 4 or more days.

    I'm not sure whether radiotherapy could cause middle abdominal pain and/or back pain but those are also the type of pains associated with pancreatic irritation.
    Apart from my mother in law, my husband suffered pancreatitis 15 years ago, he nearly died from it, and that was the type of pain he described but his wasn't mild, he needed regular pethidine (just only one shot of that is normally given to women when they can't bear the pain of childbirth). One of our children developed Type 1 diabetes at age 12.
    Looks like our family's pancreases are jinxed.

    My mother in law has been complaining of mild middle abdominal pain radiating to the back before she was diagnosed. She used to think it was her stomach since she also has a hiatus hernia and esophagial varices. I would tend to think that the pancreatic irritation due to the pan can would cause similar type of pain.

  3. #3
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    My husband was EXTREMELY fatigued during chemo. And his appetite was non existent.

  4. #4
    Moderator Top User ddessert's Avatar
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    I've been looking into this recently for other reasons. I've reviewed several papers and came up with this list of side effects most often seen during PanCan radiation treatments. The only guidance that I can find research papers give is for nausea/vomiting. I've asked some radiologists if they know of any other symptom management research and will let you know if I find out anything.

    • diarrhea
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • headaches
    • abdominal pain
    • weakness/tiredness
    • rapid heart rate
    • fever
    • dehydration
    • low leukocyte counts
    • low lymphocyte counts
    • ANC/AGC


    In the meantime, I'd also be interested in knowing how the patients dealt with this.

    In my case, I had mild nausea, I think from the accompanying Xeloda with the radiation. I used Zofran (generic: ondansetron), but eating a small meal before taking the Xeloda helped me sufficiently that I could stop taking the Zofran.

    I also suffered from dehydration which was treated with daily saline IV's. I highly recommend drinking water to prevent dehydration.
    BRCA2 3398del5
    Dec 2010 - back/abd pain
    May 2011 - Unresectable stage III, 2.5cm tumor
    Jun-Aug 2011 - Gem/Cis, 9 rounds
    Oct-Nov 2011 - Radiation+Xeloda, 25 days in 5 weeks
    Oct 2011-Sep 2012 - shrinking tumor
    Feb 2012 - National Familial Pancreatic Study
    Aug 2012 - Downgraded to stage IIA, PGP
    Sep 2012 - Whipple, T3N0M0, 0.5cm tumor, 0/16 lymph nodes
    Dec 2012 - Quebec PanCan Study
    Sep 2012-Nov 2017 - NED
    Mar 2013-present - NCT01088789
    @pancanology

  5. #5
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    Im not sure how to help the fatigue and the appetite problem, but my concern was the back pain, My father already received 7x of IMRT without the Xeloda, and this monday, Dr want to see if he is able to take the xeloda or not, as I saw him right now he is really uncomfortable with the treatment, he spent the wholeday on the bed, didnt want to do any exercise, the side effect of the RT plus the infection problem worst than the chemo side effect.

    The infection cause him lose 2kg just in 2 weeks, and really hard for us to maintenance his weight right now. I was just thinking to stop the IMRT and continue it when he is strong enough. I will discuss this tomorrow with my father Onc Dr.
    Aug 2016 - Father (62) dx stage 3 PC confirmed by EUS + Biopsy
    Sep 2016 - PET/CT result showed there is another lung nodule on the scan , Biopsy the lung nodule, it was other primary cancer
    Oct 2016 - Whipple cancelled , confirmed spread to liver, process with Triple Bypass
    Nov 2016 to Dec 2017 - Start Gem + Abrax 3 weeks ON 1 week OFF
    Jan 2017 - PET/CT clear, showed nothing ( chemo break for lung infection treatment )
    Feb 2017 to March 2017 - Finished the 4th cycle of the treatments and scheduled the PET/CT scan ( result show no more hypermetabolic activity lesions were seen in pancreas, liver, and lung )
    End of April 2017 - Finished the 6th cycle , scheduled for the PET/CT on May 2017
    May 2017 - PET/CT show pancreas and liver no hypermetabolic activity but there was a nodule on the right lung which is NSLC , same position from the 1st PET/CT , Dr suggested RT / SBRT
    June 2017 - IMRT , 20x 55gy doses to the right lung

  6. #6
    Moderator Top User ddessert's Avatar
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    I'm really surprised that they started the radiation treatments before he'd recovered from the E Coli infection. Is it possible the radiologist does not know his colon has not healed yet? Wasn't there still blood in the diarrhea?

    Just wondering if the entire health team is communicating With each other?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddessert View Post
    I'm really surprised that they started the radiation treatments before he'd recovered from the E Coli infection. Is it possible the radiologist does not know his colon has not healed yet? Wasn't there still blood in the diarrhea?

    Just wondering if the entire health team is communicating With each other?
    The antibiotic was given 2 weeks ago, I assumed they succeeded to clear the infection, if not mistaken, the bloody diarrhea stopped at the day 5 or day 6 after they injected the suitable antibiotic, the 1st week they injected the antibiotic which the bacteria resistant from ( we wasted the 1st week by injected the wrong antibiotic ) . Im not sure if his colon has not healed yet, but Im sure the radiologist done the RT with the permission of my father onco doctor. I cant imagine what will happen if we add xeloda into the treatment.

    ah.. forgot to mention the other side effect of the RT is low HB count , my father last blood transfusion before the RT treatment made his HB count = 10, but after 1 week of RT, the HB count = 8.7, so we gave him iron supplement.

    Dehydration is not really a problem for my father, everyday I give him a glass of coconut water, since we live in a tropical country, its easy for us to find a fresh coconut.

    he is now on nexium 40mg once a day, iron supplement once a day, IMRT, and if possible the doctor will add xeloda.

    Nexium or Esomeprazole, as all acid-blocking medicines, may reduce the absorption of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) due to hypo- or achlorhydria. I will asked the doctor if my father really need this medicine or not, since he has a low HB count, by blocking the vitamin B12 absorption may cause problem for the regeneration of red blood cells, this is what I read from the article.
    Last edited by czwing; 09-03-2017 at 07:31 PM.

 

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