Sunday, February 25, 2024

Can You Do Chemo And Radiation At The Same Time

Does Radiation Therapy Affect Pregnancy Or Fertility

Radiation Treatment: How is Radiation Treatment Given?

Females: Its important not to become pregnant while getting radiation it can harm the growing baby. If theres a chance you might become pregnant, be sure to talk to your doctor about birth control options.

If you are or might be pregnant, let your doctor know right away.

If the area getting radiation in your body includes the ovaries, it is possible that the dose of radiation can cause the ovaries to no longer work , and that you would be unable to have children. it is important to know the risk of this possibility in advance of receiving radiation therapy. If you are thinking about radiation therapy that will affect the ovaries, talk to your doctor about how this might affect having children in the future.

Males: Not much is known about radiations effect on the children conceived by men while getting radiation therapy. Because of this, doctors often advise men to not get a woman pregnant during and for some weeks after treatment. Talk to your doctor to find out more about this.

Learn more in How Cancer and Cancer Treatment Can Affect Fertility.

How Does Radiation Therapy Treat Cancer

Cancer begins when healthy cells change and grow out of control. All cells in the body go through a cycle to grow, divide, and multiply. Cancer cells go through this process faster than normal cells. Radiation therapy damages cell DNA so the cells stop growing or are destroyed.

Unlike other cancer treatments affect the whole body, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy is usually a local treatment. This means it generally affects only the part of the body where the cancer is located. Some healthy tissue near the cancer cells may be damaged during the treatment, but it usually heals after treatment ends.

There are many different types of radiation therapy, and they all work a little bit differently to destroy cancer cells.

Radiations Benefits And Risks

Radiation treatments can continue killing cancer cells for weeks or months after your initial treatment.

Different types of radiation treatment will have different risks and side effects. For example, local radiation can have side effects if nearby healthy tissues are damaged during treatment.

Side effects of radiation may include nausea, mouth sores, and throat problems that make it hard to eat. Youll also feel exhausted and weak as your body works to heal and remove damaged cells.

Systemic radiation with an internal radioactive liquid can have more side effects throughout the body. Still, local radiation can have specific side effects depending on where in the body you are getting treated.

You’ll likely feel pretty good when starting radiation treatment but feel progressively more run-down as your treatments continue, and even after they’re done. Side effects from radiation should improve within a few weeks or months, but some may persist or show up in the longer termmonths or even years after treatment.

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Does Radiation Therapy Cause Cancer

It has long been known that radiation therapy can slightly raise the risk of getting another cancer. Its one of the possible side effects of treatment that doctors have to think about when they weigh the benefits and risks of each treatment. For the most part, the risk of a second cancer from these treatments is small and is outweighed by the benefit of treating the cancer, but the risk is not zero. This is one of the many reasons each case is different and each person must be part of deciding which kind of treatment is right for them. The risk is different depending on where the radiation treatment will be in the body.

If your cancer care team recommends radiation treatment, its because they believe that the benefits youll get from it will outweigh the possible side effects. Still, this is your decision to make. Knowing as much as you can about the possible benefits and risks can help you be sure that radiation therapy is best for you.

What Are The Common Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy

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Radiation therapy is called a local treatment. This means that it only affects the specific area of the body that is targeted. For example, radiation therapy to the scalp may cause hair loss. But people who have radiation therapy to other parts of their body do not usually lose the hair on their head.

Common physical side effects of radiation therapy include:

Skin changes. Some people who receive radiation therapy experience dryness, itching, blistering, or peeling on the skin in the area being treated. Skin changes from radiation therapy usually go away a few weeks after treatment ends. If skin damage becomes a serious problem, your doctor may change your treatment plan. Lotion may help with skin changes, but be sure to check with your health care team about which cream they recommend and when to apply it. It is also best to protect affected skin from the sun. Learn more about skin-related treatment side effects.

Fatigue. Fatigue is a term used to describe feeling physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion even if you are getting enough rest and sleep. Many patients experience fatigue. Your level of fatigue may increase if you are receiving more than 1 type of treatment, such as radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy. Learn how to cope with fatigue.

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How Much Radiation Therapy Costs

Radiation therapy can be expensive. It uses complex machines and involves the services of many health care providers. The exact cost of your radiation therapy depends on the cost of health care where you live, what type of radiation therapy you get, and how many treatments you need.

Talk with your health insurance company about what services it will pay for. Most insurance plans pay for radiation therapy. To learn more, talk with the business office at the clinic or hospital where you go for treatment. If you need financial assistance, there are organizations that may be able to help. To find such organizations, go to the National Cancer Institute database, Organizations that Offer Support Services and search for financial assistance. Or call toll-free 1-800-4-CANCER to ask for information on organizations that may help.

Prices And Where To Get It

Chemotherapy is given by prescription only. Your healthcare provider will recommend the form and schedule of treatment. IV chemotherapy is typically given at specialized infusion centers. Expenses can include travel costs and costs of disrupting your schedule .

Because there are so many possibilities on what chemotherapy medications can be given, and how often, a set price is difficult to determine. The out-of-pocket cost of chemotherapy can be different for everyone, beginning with whether or not they have health insurance.

For those who have health insurance, the cost of copays , coinsurance , deductibles , and maximum out-of-pocket costs can be different for each person.

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Positive Dcis Margins: Concerned About Treatment

My 42yr old daughter had mastectomy with reconstruction at the same time. She is HR/PR+ HER-, No radiation, no chemo , She also had 2 IVDC tumors in the same breast.No lymph node involvement. Stage 1, grade 2. She is on tamoxifen. May be starting Lupron. Anyone else not have any particular treatment for the positive DCIS margins? Concerned.

Hi, did your daughter end up getting radiation? Im in a very similar boat as her. Im 41 and just had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. I had ER/PR+ HER2- IDC/DCIS stage 1/grade 2 no lymph node involvement and low oncotype. I need to decide if I want radiation since I had a positive margin for the DCIS. Im planning on taking Tamoxifen for the next 5 years. Im leaning on not getting radiation because I worry about all the damage it can cause internally.

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What Are The Latest Cdc Covid Testing Guidelines

What to Expect When Receiving Radiation Therapy Treatment

As we have discussed in the above-given section, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention suggest everyone test themselves regularly to prevent the infection in the first place.

The CDC has not changed its stance on COVID testing even in 2023. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest Americans take the benefits of free testing to test themselves regularly to prevent the infection and contain the spread.

You might be surprised to know that the federal government of the United States has also brought back its free COVID test kits program. Every household in the United States is eligible to order up to 4 rapid antigen test kits from the federal government free of cost.

You can order these tests using the official website of the United States Postal Service. Just like before, you dont even have to pay anything to receive these rapid antigen tests.

Secondly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also in partnership with several different pharmaceutical companies to provide free COVID testing throughout the whole nation.

If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with the condition, then you can opt for free COVID testing at any nearby pharmacy. You can create an online appointment using their official website, or you can also ask for walk-in testing.

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Physical Emotional And Social Effects Of Cancer

Cancer and its treatment cause physical symptoms and side effects, as well as emotional, social, and financial effects. Managing all of these effects is called palliative care or supportive care. It is an important part of your care that is included along with treatments intended to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer.

Palliative care focuses on improving how you feel during treatment by managing symptoms and supporting patients and their families with other, non-medical needs. Any person, regardless of age or type and stage of cancer, may receive this type of care. And it often works best when it is started right after a cancer diagnosis. People who receive palliative care along with treatment for the cancer often have less severe symptoms, better quality of life, and report that they are more satisfied with treatment.

Palliative treatments vary widely and often include medication, nutritional changes, relaxation techniques, emotional and spiritual support, and other therapies. You may also receive palliative treatments similar to those meant to get rid of the cancer, such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy.

Learn more about the importance of tracking side effects in another part of this guide. Learn more about palliative care in a separate section of this website.

Is Radiation Therapy Safe For Patients And Their Families

Doctors have safely and effectively used radiation therapy to treat cancer for more than 100 years. Like other cancer treatments, radiation therapy causes side effects. Talk with your health care team about what to expect and what you are experiencing during and after your treatment. While most people feel no pain when each treatment is being delivered, effects of treatment slowly build up over time and may include discomfort, skin changes, or other side effects, depending on where in the body treatment is being delivered.

Having radiation therapy slightly increases the risk of developing a second cancer later in life. But for many people, radiation therapy eliminates the existing cancer. This benefit is greater than the small risk that the treatment could cause a new cancer in the future.

During external-beam radiation therapy, the patient does not give off any radiation after treatment sessions. Any radiation remains in the the treatment room.

However, internal radiation therapy causes the patient to give off radiation. As a result, visitors should follow these safety measures, unless other directions are given by the patient’s doctor:

  • Do not visit the patient if you are pregnant or younger than 18

  • Stay at least 6 feet from the patient’s bed

  • Limit your stay to 30 minutes or less each day

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When Radiotherapy Is Used

Radiotherapy may be used in the early stages of cancer or after it has started to spread.

It can be used to:

  • try to cure the cancer completely
  • make other treatments more effective for example, it can be combined with chemotherapy or used before surgery
  • reduce the risk of the cancer coming back after surgery
  • relieve symptoms if a cure is not possible

Radiotherapy is generally considered the most effective cancer treatment after surgery, but how well it works varies from person to person.

How You Get Chemotherapy And Radiation

Chemo And Radiation At The Same Time

Both therapies typically happen over a period of weeks in regular visits to the hospital or doctorâs office. But each case is different, so talk to your doctor about the right treatment plan for you.

Your medical team will deliver your chemotherapy through one or more of these methods:

  • IV: Through a needle or a tube directly into a blood vessel
  • Oral: From a pill or capsule that you swallow
  • Injection: Through a needle into the skin or muscle

Your medical team will deliver your radiation therapy through one or more of these methods:

  • External radiation: A machine outside the body shoots invisible high-energy beams into the tumor.
  • Internal radiation: This is sometimes called âbrachytherapy.â Doctors place a radioactive seed inside your body close to the tumor. They might leave it in to do its work or they may take it out soon afterward.
  • Systemic radiation: Though less common, your doctor might suggest using radiation as a systemic treatment that works throughout the body. That means you get it from a pill you swallow or through a needle or port into one of your veins.

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Does Altered Rt Fractionation Have A Role

In effort to increase therapeutic gain, and thereby increase tumor control, investigators have considered various forms of altered fractionation . In this context, the United Kingdom Continuous Hyperfractionated Accelerated Radiation Therapy and the ECOG 2597 trials were tested. These were a comparison of sequential chemo-radiotherapy with altered fractionation, concurrent treatments. In the ECOG trial, the concurrent accelerated irradiation arm had a significantly improved MS of 20.3 months compared with 14 months for patients receiving conventional daily radiation after chemotherapy . Similarly, the CHART trial showed a survival advantage for a continuous hyperfractionated RT regimen given 3 times a day compared to conventional, once-daily RT over a longer period . The unfortunate aspect of a multi-treatment per day regimen is that many patients are unable to adhere to the schedule for practical/logistical considerations, such as transportation to-and-from the treatment facility.

When Do Radiation And Chemotherapy Side Effects Start

You may experience side effects within a few hours of treatment as is the case with certain chemotherapy treatments that gradually begin to improve. Or you may not experience side effects until youve completed several treatment sessions, as is sometimes the case with radiation. Talk to your healthcare provider about when youre most likely to experience side effects based on your treatment type and schedule.

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Potential Causes Of Lung Cancer

Although smoking is a common cause of lung cancer, many people who develop lung cancer quit smoking long before their diagnosis or never smoked in the first place. Exposure to carcinogens such as asbestos and radon can also cause non-small cell lung cancer.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber used in construction materials, vehicle parts, fireproof clothing and equipment, and many household products for many years. Even after asbestos was discovered to be a carcinogen, some manufacturers continued to use it in their products.

Radon is a radioactive gas that forms when uranium, radium, and other radioactive metals break down in soil, rock, and water. Since radon is odorless, people can be exposed to it for years and have no idea. Radon occurs naturally in the atmosphere in trace amounts, but when it enters homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation, it becomes trapped and builds up in the air.

Building owners and landlords can test for radon and take steps to protect people who live and work in their buildings, but many do not.

What Is Radiation Therapy

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Radiation therapy uses high-energy particles or waves, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams, or protons, to destroy or damage cancer cells.

Your cells normally grow and divide to form new cells. But cancer cells grow and divide faster than most normal cells. Radiation works by making small breaks in the DNA inside cells. These breaks keep cancer cells from growing and dividing and cause them to die. Nearby normal cells can also be affected by radiation, but most recover and go back to working the way they should.

While chemotherapy and other treatments that are taken by mouth or injection usually expose the whole body to cancer-fighting drugs, radiation therapy is usually a local treatment. This means its usually aimed at and affects only the part of the body needing treatment. Radiation treatments are planned so that they damage cancer cells with as little harm as possible to nearby healthy cells.

Some radiation treatments use radioactive substances that are given in a vein or by mouth. Even though this type of radiation does travel throughout the body, the radioactive substance mostly collects in the area of the tumor, so theres still little effect on the rest of the body.

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How Is Radiotherapy Used

Radiotherapy may be given in a few different ways:

External beam radiotherapy is administered from outside the body using equipment that sends out radiation beams. When receiving this treatment, you will sit or lie on a special bed underneath the machine. You will need to stay very still so the radiation only affects the area around your cancer. Your medical team will make sure you are in exactly the right position each time before starting the machine. Depending on the area being treated, you may be supported with boards, wedges, beanbags, or a special face mask. Radiotherapy usually only takes a few minutes in each session and it does not hurt.

Treatment is usually given on an outpatient basis, meaning that you can go home between sessions. Sessions are often scheduled daily, Monday to Friday, with a break over weekends and over the course of several weeks or months.

You may need to stay in hospital for a few days when getting internal beam radiotherapy. In other cases, where low-dose devices are left in your body permanently, you may be able to go home soon after they are inserted.

Your medical team will carefully consider the best way to deliver your radiotherapy. You may need to have a number of blood tests and scans to get important information about your cancer and its exact location so your doctors can plan your radiotherapy.

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