Radiation


 

Purpose of radiation

Since my biggest metastase in december 2007 seemed to be attached to the vena cava and chemotherapy didn't help reduce the size of the tumor, it was decided to try radiation in hope it would help reduce the size of the tumor and disconnect it from the vena cava.

Set-up scan and tattoos

Before starting radiation, a scan (usually PET but I had a CT scan instead) is done for planning. Permanent tattoos were made at 5 different places (3 on the chest and one under each arm). A blue ink was used for the tattoos.  

Here is what one of the tattoos looks like:

A body mold was also made and used in subsequent radiation sessions to keep me still. 

Radiation treatment

I had 20 radiation sessions. The method of delivery was IMRT. A Varian machine was used.

At almost each session, I had images done before the actual radiation delivery. I was irradiated for about 10 seconds from the front and 10 seconds from the back. 

Side effects

The only side effect I had was burn skin which started to occur only after 2 weeks.

I was given a vitamin A + vitamin D ointment from Fougera to apply twice a day on the irradiated skin.

Long term side effects

I developed what looks like radiation fibrosis.
Here are some useful websites on the subject:
pictures of radiation induced disease

radiation pneumonitis

Purpose of radiation

Set-up scan and tattoos

Radiation treatment

Side effects

Long term side effects