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Radiation Effectiveness?

Forums General Melanoma Community Radiation Effectiveness?

  • Post
    nicoli
    Participant

      I'm stage 3 and the onc is thinking of using radiation to kill mel cells that are left after  wide excision surgery of several months ago. We know there are remaining cells because 2 mets have recently been found in that same area, one rising up right under the graft skin! I have read that radiation isn't very effective against melanoma but can't seem to find facts or figures. Anyone here able to provide accurate information?

      Nicki, stage 3b, dx 12/29/2009

      I'm stage 3 and the onc is thinking of using radiation to kill mel cells that are left after  wide excision surgery of several months ago. We know there are remaining cells because 2 mets have recently been found in that same area, one rising up right under the graft skin! I have read that radiation isn't very effective against melanoma but can't seem to find facts or figures. Anyone here able to provide accurate information?

      Nicki, stage 3b, dx 12/29/2009

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        Jim M.
        Participant

          Hi Nicki,

           I don't have any written facts but I'll tell you my experience. I'm stage 3C and had an LND to the right axilla. My doctor, Jeffrey Weber, at Moffitt recommended for me to do radiation. He said that radiation reduces the chance of a local recurrence from 60 to 10%. I think that is quite a significant risk reduction. Dr. Weber is one of the top immunologists in the country and is one of the Ipi gurus. I did radiation; 6 weeks worth.

          Did you have lymph nodes removed? Another thing to consider is the increased risk for lymphedema. The risk of getting it after surgery alone is 21%. The risk for lymphedma doubles to 42% for those who have surgery and radiation. I'm just over 3 years NED but I did develope lymphedema in my right arm. It's manageable and in my opinion better than getting a recurrence.

          Are they able to surgically remove the mets or is it not doable because the mets are under the skin graft?

          Best of success and God Bless,

           Jim M.

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          Jim M.
          Participant

            Hi Nicki,

             I don't have any written facts but I'll tell you my experience. I'm stage 3C and had an LND to the right axilla. My doctor, Jeffrey Weber, at Moffitt recommended for me to do radiation. He said that radiation reduces the chance of a local recurrence from 60 to 10%. I think that is quite a significant risk reduction. Dr. Weber is one of the top immunologists in the country and is one of the Ipi gurus. I did radiation; 6 weeks worth.

            Did you have lymph nodes removed? Another thing to consider is the increased risk for lymphedema. The risk of getting it after surgery alone is 21%. The risk for lymphedma doubles to 42% for those who have surgery and radiation. I'm just over 3 years NED but I did develope lymphedema in my right arm. It's manageable and in my opinion better than getting a recurrence.

            Are they able to surgically remove the mets or is it not doable because the mets are under the skin graft?

            Best of success and God Bless,

             Jim M.

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              nicoli
              Participant

                Thanks for your reply. Yes, I had the sentinal nodes and other lymph nodes removed from my neck , as the cancer was on the scalp. I recently had a local recurrance and this was removed by surgery. Now my onc wants to radiate the scalp to try to kill any cells remaining in the area. I like what your doctor said about 60% to 10%. That certainly seems like radiation would be worth it. I have a consult with a cancer radiologist this week. Nick, Stage 3

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                nicoli
                Participant

                  Thanks for your reply. Yes, I had the sentinal nodes and other lymph nodes removed from my neck , as the cancer was on the scalp. I recently had a local recurrance and this was removed by surgery. Now my onc wants to radiate the scalp to try to kill any cells remaining in the area. I like what your doctor said about 60% to 10%. That certainly seems like radiation would be worth it. I have a consult with a cancer radiologist this week. Nick, Stage 3

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                Amy Busby
                Participant

                  My experience with radiation is that it is no not a big deal, that why wouldn't you add on some additional radiation just to TRY to help eliminate stray cells.  Sure it may not be as effective as we'd like but for me the treatment itself was nothing so why not do it?  I did 10 days WBR and another 10 days skeletal (back and leg).

                  Amy

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                  Amy Busby
                  Participant

                    My experience with radiation is that it is no not a big deal, that why wouldn't you add on some additional radiation just to TRY to help eliminate stray cells.  Sure it may not be as effective as we'd like but for me the treatment itself was nothing so why not do it?  I did 10 days WBR and another 10 days skeletal (back and leg).

                    Amy

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                      nicoli
                      Participant

                        In another post I explained my dilemna (sp?)  My melanoma is on the scalp. If radiation doesn't kill all the cells in that area I may have another local recurrance.  But my surgeon says radiation will fry the scalp so much so that no one will be able to  do surgery in that area again if I do have another local recurrance. So any future tumors cannot be removed surgically.  So what is better… hope  the radiation kills all the local cells   or  don't radiate and remove any future tumors with surgery? Hard decision. Nicki stage 3, remission 7 months, local recurrance last month.

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                        nicoli
                        Participant

                          In another post I explained my dilemna (sp?)  My melanoma is on the scalp. If radiation doesn't kill all the cells in that area I may have another local recurrance.  But my surgeon says radiation will fry the scalp so much so that no one will be able to  do surgery in that area again if I do have another local recurrance. So any future tumors cannot be removed surgically.  So what is better… hope  the radiation kills all the local cells   or  don't radiate and remove any future tumors with surgery? Hard decision. Nicki stage 3, remission 7 months, local recurrance last month.

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                          kristylee92
                          Participant
                            I know you have a difficult decision to make, but I’m glad your oncologist made you aware of the side effects. My father had 5 extensive radiation treatments to the left side of his neck after surgical removal of 27 lymph nodes. He ended up having the lymph nodes also removed from the right side and received 25 lighter radiation treatments to that area. The radiation left his neck and collarbone area as hard as concrete which made future surgeries impossible. The radiation killed the cancer in those areas, but it returned behind the area that was treated and when it was unable to be surgically removed it metastasized to his lungs and esophagus. Extensive physical therapy was performed to try to keep the radiated areas from becoming so hard, but it was unsuccessful. I don’t want to alarm you, only to make you aware of side effects that we were not advised of. My father Starr that had he been aware of the damage radiation caused him, including months of pain from the internal burning, he would have declined the treatment. This is only our personal experience and we were told that the head/neck area is more fragile. I only ask that you gather all the information you can for your treatment options so that you can make the best decision for yourself.

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                            kristylee92
                            Participant
                              I know you have a difficult decision to make, but I’m glad your oncologist made you aware of the side effects. My father had 5 extensive radiation treatments to the left side of his neck after surgical removal of 27 lymph nodes. He ended up having the lymph nodes also removed from the right side and received 25 lighter radiation treatments to that area. The radiation left his neck and collarbone area as hard as concrete which made future surgeries impossible. The radiation killed the cancer in those areas, but it returned behind the area that was treated and when it was unable to be surgically removed it metastasized to his lungs and esophagus. Extensive physical therapy was performed to try to keep the radiated areas from becoming so hard, but it was unsuccessful. I don’t want to alarm you, only to make you aware of side effects that we were not advised of. My father Starr that had he been aware of the damage radiation caused him, including months of pain from the internal burning, he would have declined the treatment. This is only our personal experience and we were told that the head/neck area is more fragile. I only ask that you gather all the information you can for your treatment options so that you can make the best decision for yourself.

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