Radiation Therapy affecting healing

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English Alf
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 2215
   Posted 6/2/2010 2:10 AM (GMT -6)   
I had a routine check-up booked this morning with my dermatologist to get my moles checked. I decided not to get it changed despite now being in the middle of RT.
I've been seeing her for about 13 years and she was rather upset last year to hear I had PCa and hence today was very nice and kind to me re the PSA rise and me needing the RT. (And she was amazed at how tiny they had been able to make the marker tattoos.)

The moles are fine for the time being, but a small benign lump has appeared on my upper thigh, and we have made an appointment to remove it in December, and this is where things get relevant to PCa and RT.

She said she could remove this lump right away, but becasue I was having RT it would drastically affect how a wound healed and so she wanted to wait several months before doing it. The delay is fine, but it got me thinking about how things do or do not heal after RT.

Anyone else have any bother with wounds etc healing? And of course this aspect is a vicious circles problem for RT itself as RT damages our insides, and then disrupts the mechanism that will make things heal. (And I guess we all know how David/Purgatory has had to face problems with what seems to be his treated area not healing properly.)

And what is the body's healing mechanism that gets distrupted? Is it just white blood cells? Is there anything we do to help it recover?

And from the dermatology meets RT angle, when she took note of the area of my body ie skin where the RT beams are entering me, she said she would not expect to see any changes there for about ten years. She didn't say what changes the RT might cause in ten years time, but how many people have been told by their RT docs that ten years down the line the RT may affect the skin. (I'd only heard about short term problems relating to the skin that would clear up soon after RT stopped, such as a friend who had RT for breast cancer and who got red patches on her skin that were a bit sore.)

I found this site useful about the short term skin problems:
www.cancernet.co.uk/rxt-skincare.htm
and doing a Google search for "skin damage" plus "radiotherapy" turns up a lot of interesting stuff.

I haven't got any problems with my skin at present except an occasional itch, but anyone have any thoughts?

Alfred
Age at Dx 48 No Family history of Prostate Cancer
Married 25 years, and I cannot thank my wife enough for her support.
April 2009: PSA 8.6 DRE: negative. Tumour in 2 out of 12 cores. Gleason 3+3.
RALP (nerve-sparing) at AVL-NKI Hospital Amsterdam on 29th July 2009. Stay 1 night.
Partial erections on while catheter still in. Catheter out on 6th Aug 2009.
Dry at night after catheter came out
Post-op Gleason 3+4. Tumour mainly in left near neck of bladder.
Left Seminal Vesicle invaded, (=T3b!)
no perineraul invasion, no vascular invasion. clear margins,
Erection 100% on 15th Aug 2009, but lots of leaking of urine
Stopped wearing pads on 21st Sept 2009
Pre-op style intercourse on 24th Oct 2009 !! No use of tablets, jabs, VED etc. but...
Nov 17th 2009 PSA = 0.1
Can still get erections okay, and almost no leaking of urine, but since December 2009 I don't have orgasms, instead I just have intense pain in place where prostate used to be.
Mar 17th 2010 PSA = 0.4!!! referred to radiation therapist
April 13th 2010 CT scan.
April 28th 2010 Started Radiation Therapy (66Gy - 33 sessions)

Post Edited (English Alf) : 6/2/2010 2:37:18 AM (GMT-6)


142
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Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 6948
   Posted 6/2/2010 5:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Alf,
I don't have any external skin issues as yet, but both the rad. oncologist and my original surgeon were very concerned with some previous colon surgery - advising that if it should bleed, it might continue to for months afterward. That is why they are so intent upon the stool softeners - constipation and the resulting strain/hard stool is a major issue if you were to develop a rectal fissure, which would be in the treatment area.

I was sent off to get the old surgery site rechecked before I was allowed to start treatment.

If you read the ACS booklets, they also suggest that irradiated areas should not be exposed to the sun for a long time after RT, as common sunburns might be worse (just saw that this week). Not an issue for me, not being one to go to the beach, but...
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