Home Forums For Caregivers Only How Palliative Is Radiation???

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  • #20617
    DadZGirl
    Participant

    All,

    Need some advice or some experienced voices please… my Dad’s melanoma is recurring in his groin area. He had femoral dissection (about 8 inch incision) which was “palliative surgery” in May. It was a lot to recover from and he didn’t see it as very “palliative”, although I’m sure if he hadn’t done it — oh well i think you know what i mean. Now there is recurrence already in same area.

    Just wondering really how palliative is radiation? Right now he is not having pain, he does have several metasteses in his groin and they are growing. He doesn’t want to even consider radiation because he feels kind of rough already and really doesn’t want his last few months to be worse due to radiation.

    Any thoughts or experience with radiation in groin area?

    I appreciate your help.

    Laura

    #56430
    bettin
    Participant

    Hi Laura,

    I am sorry to hear your father is going through this. In advanced Melanoma, any treatment must unfortunately be considered palliative as opposed to curative…..

    Melanoma is generally considered to be radioresistant, so we surprised how well it worked on Peter’s tumors. The problem is you don’t know until you try!

    Peter’s tumors shrank quite impressively (he got radiation on his spine in several spots, the neck and the axilla) and he felt relief very quickly, had we known that from the beginning, we would have insisted on it earlier!

    Side effects will depend on the total dosis and the fractions your father is getting, Peter got 20 Gray each time and tolerated that very well but I’ve seen that people on this forum got higher doses. Side effects tend to kick in with a certain delay and were like sun burns of the skin, so it’s important to keep the skin moist during and after radiotherapy, especially when it’s such a sensitive area.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best for your father and yourself-

    Bettina

    #56431
    DadZGirl
    Participant

    Hi Bettina,

    Thanks so much for relating your experience. I guess you’re right, it’s so hard to know unless we try. Not sure whether we will or not, maybe we will wait a bit longer. Maybe when our back is against the wall it will make more sense to us. It’s always hard to know what to do. Thanks for your kind words, we are doing our best one day at a time.

    Take care,

    Laura

    #56432
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    Would he have the radiation in a top notch place? The newest equipment seems to make a difference and can pinpoint the radiation better. Yes, it can be palliative, giving relief and stepping back the tumor growth. I would have an earnest talk with doctor, radiologist and your dad to determine what is best. Let us know how things go.

    #56433
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Turns out that Rachels mucosal melanoma was very responsive to radiation (it was the ONLY treatment that showed tumor regression). She had radiation (high dose and fractionated) for tumors on several of her vertebrae. The pain went away within a week and never came back. Also the radiation for the 2 sets of very small brain mets basically eliminated them with pronounced shrinkage (5mm, the largest, down to 3 mm) after 4 weeks. Before her passing she then had high dose radiation on a recurrance of the cancer in the base of her left maxillary sinus (where it all started over a year ago) which showed shrinkage even before the treatment (5 shots over 2 weeks) was over. The treatments were done at Precision Radiotherapy in West Chester Ohio under the care of Dr. John Brenaman ( a super guy and regional expert in radiation oncology).

    But hers was a mucosal melanoma and as Dr. John pointed out, everybody’s disease has its own quirks, but done properly, radiation can have minimal side effects (Rachel didn’t have any really) and provide good palliative relief. There is also the small chance that the death of the cancer cells and subsequent release of antigens will tweak the immune systems response, especially in conjunction with an immuno-therapy.

    If you can kill it, KILL IT(!!)

    Hope this helps.

    Jeff

    #56434
    bettin
    Participant

    Hi Laura-

    I personally wouldn’t wait until the tumor is totally out of control because radiotherapy can only kill tumor but not make the destruction caused by it undone. And I can only echo what has been said- go and see a specialist, as with many other things, radiotherapy is not like radiotherapy!

    Bettina

    #56435
    DadZGirl
    Participant

    Update:

    We are moving forward with Radiation, thanks for all the support here regarding my question. Today Dad had his “simulation” and is set up to get zapped this Wed 10/24.

    Still waiting to hear the dose and frequency, I guess we will find out on Wed. He is feeling encouraged that this will help the tumors back off a bit and relieve some of the pain. Although the pain is currently intermittent, it is quite a bother.

    Also, scheduled our first meeting with Hospice for tomorrow afternoon. Looking forward to meeting them and getting organized early.

    Hope all are well here. Hey Jeff – we are going to try and kill it! :)

    Laura

    #56436
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    Laura, your father is so fortunate to have you by his side. So many endure by themselves or without the love and caring you are providing. I hope the radiation gets rid of the pain as no one should suffer with pain. I would also find out if your doctor consults with a pain management specialist. That might be helpful. Keep in touch.

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