If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Abdomen
If you are getting radiation to your stomach or some part of the abdomen , you may have side effects such as:
Eating or avoiding certain foods can help with some of these problems, so diet planning is an important part of radiation treatment of the stomach or abdomen. Ask your cancer care team about what you can expect, and what medicines you should take to help relieve these problems. Check with your cancer care team about any home remedies or over-the-counter drugs youre thinking about using.
These problems should get better when treatment is over.
Some people feel queasy for a few hours right after radiation therapy. If you have this problem, try not eating for a couple of hours before and after your treatment. You may handle the treatment better on an empty stomach. If the problem doesnt go away, ask your cancer care team about medicines to help prevent and treat nausea. Be sure to take the medicine exactly as you are told to do.
If you notice nausea before your treatment, try eating a bland snack, like toast or crackers, and try to relax as much as possible. See Nausea and Vomiting to get tips to help an upset stomach and learn more about how to manage these side effects.
What Is The Treatment For Metastatic Breast Cancer
The primary treatments for metastatic breast cancers are systemic therapies with medications. Medications may vary depending on the type of breast cancer and where it has spread. Medications may be administered as oral tablets, injections or infusions.
Breast cancer patients also have the option of registering for clinical trials for new treatments. Surgery and/or radiation therapy have limited use in treating metastatic breast cancer. Radiation therapy is the use of high energy rays or particles directed at the cancer cells to destroy them.
Surgery and/or radiation therapy may be used in metastatic breast cancer to:
- Remove the primary tumor in the breast if it is causing an open wound
- Treat small areas of the brain in case of brain metastasis
- Relieve pressure on the spinal cord in case of metastasis to the spine
- Prevent fractures in bone metastasis
- Treat blockage in the liver
- Provide relief from pain and other symptoms from metastatic cancer
Systemic therapies for metastatic cancer typically consist of a combination of two or more of the following therapies:
Chemotherapy is the primary treatment for metastatic breast cancer. Chemotherapy drugs kill all cells that are in the growth and division phases, including healthy ones. Chemotherapy is particularly toxic to cancer cells because they are always growing and dividing.
Radiation Therapy And Risk Of A Second Cancer
In rare cases, radiation therapy to the breast can cause a second cancer.
The most common cancers linked to radiation therapy are sarcomas . For women who are long-term smokers, radiation therapy may also increase the risk of lung cancer .
The risk of a second cancer is small. If your radiation oncologist recommends radiation therapy, the benefits of radiation therapy outweigh this risk.
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Does A Breast Lump Mean Infection
It can. Sometimes a painful lump, with or without redness, is the first sign of an infection. Mastitis is an infection most common in breastfeeding moms. It happens when bacteria get into the mammary ducts through your nipple. Infection happens in small pockets. Youll feel tender, warm lumps in your breast.
For relief, try a hot shower and let the warm water flow over your breasts. A warm compress can also help. Sometimes your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic.
Treatment For Advanced Breast Cancer
Treatment of metastatic breast cancer aims to control the growth and spread of the cancer, to relieve symptoms, reduce pain, and improve or maintain quality of life.
The treatment recommended by doctors will depend on which treatments are likely to control the breast cancer and what side effects the person can cope with. Treatment options may involve:
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Breast Discomfort And Pain
Women may feel discomfort and pain as the cancer grows and spreads in the breast. Cancer cells do not cause pain but as they grow they cause pressure or damage to surrounding tissue. A large tumor can grow into or invade the skin and cause painful sores or ulcers. It can also spread into the chest muscles and ribs causing obvious pain.
In Children Acute Nausea And Vomiting Is Usually Treated With Drugs And Other Methods
Drugs may be given before each treatment to prevent nausea and vomiting. After chemotherapy, drugs may be given to prevent delayed vomiting. Patients who are given chemotherapy several days in a row may need treatment for both acute and delayed nausea and vomiting. Some drugs last only a short time in the body and need to be given more often. Others last a long time and are given less often.
The following table shows drugs that are commonly used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy and the type of drug. Different types of drugs may be given together to treat acute and delayed nausea and vomiting.
|Dronabinol, nabilone||Other drugs|
Non-drug treatments may help relieve nausea and vomiting, and may help antinausea drugs work better in children. These treatments include:
- Child and family support groups.
- Virtual reality games.
- Eating smaller meals more often.
- Avoiding food smells and other strong odors.
- Avoiding foods that are spicy, fatty, or highly salted.
- Eating “comfort foods” that have helped prevent nausea in the past.
- Taking antinausea drugs before meals.
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Symptoms Of Secondary Breast Cancer
Secondary breast cancer means that a cancer that began in the breast has spread to another part of the body. Secondary cancer can also be called advanced or metastatic cancer.
It might not mean that you have secondary breast cancer if you have the symptoms described below. They can be caused by other conditions.
Nausea And Vomiting Are Serious Side Effects Of Cancer Therapy
Nausea is an unpleasant feeling in the back of the throat and/orstomach that may come and go in waves. It may occur before vomiting. Vomiting is throwing up the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Retching is themovement of the stomach and esophagus without vomiting and is also called dryheaves. Although treatments for nausea and vomiting have improved, nausea and vomiting are still serious side effects of cancer therapy because they cause the patient distress and may cause other health problems. Patients may have nausea more than vomiting.
Nausea iscontrolled by a part of the autonomic nervous system which controls involuntary bodyfunctions . Vomiting is a reflex controlled in part by a vomiting center in the brain. Vomiting can be triggered by smell, taste, anxiety,pain, motion, or changes in the body caused by inflammation, poor blood flow, or irritation to the stomach.
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Diagnosis Of Stage 4 Breast Cancer
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you may have further tests to determine the extent that the cancer has spread throughout the body. This is called staging. It helps you and your doctors decide on the best treatment options for you.
In addition the numbered staging system, the TNM staging system is also commonly used for breast cancer staging.
Talking To Your Partner About Sex
Being able to talk openly with your partner about sex is very important. What worked for you both before cancer may not work now. You may need to try different things to find what works for you both. If it has been a while since you’ve been intimate, start slowly with simple kissing and touching. Here are some basic guidelines for talking to your partner:
- Be honest.
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If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Brain
People with brain tumors often get stereotactic radiosurgery if the cancer is in only one or a few sites in the brain. Side effects depend on where the radiation is aimed. Some side effects might show up quickly, but others might not show up until 1 to 2 years after treatment. Talk with your radiation oncologist about what to watch for and when to call your doctor.
If the cancer is in many areas, sometimes the whole brain is treated with radiation. The side effects of whole brain radiation therapy may not be noticeable until a few weeks after treatment begins.
Radiation to the brain can cause these short-term side effects:
- Trouble with memory and speech
Some of these side effects can happen because radiation has caused the brain to swell. Medicines are usually given to prevent brain swelling, but its important to let your cancer care team know about headaches or any other symptoms. Treatment can affect each person differently, and you may not have these particular side effects.
Radiation to the brain can also have side effects that show up later usually from 6 months to many years after treatment ends. These delayed effects can include serious problems such as memory loss, stroke-like symptoms, and poor brain function. You may also have an increased risk of having another tumor in the area, although this is not common.
Talk with your cancer care team about what to expect from your specific treatment plan.
Prescription Medications For Pain
Panadeine Forte is a stronger codeine-containing analgesic, but you will need a prescription from your oncologist or GP to purchase it.
Opiate painkillers are prescription drugs that provide the backbone of managing moderate or more severe pain. There are quite a number of different versions of opiate painkillers, and new ones are introduced from time to time. The usual approach is the use of a slow-release form these are either oral medications or patches that are placed on the skin and renewed every few days. Examples are:
- Oxycontin, Targin and Endone
- MSContin or Kapanol
- Jurnista and Dilaudid
- Durogesic patches.
You may also be able to use fast acting pain medication for what is called breakthrough pain pain that occurs despite the slow-release pain medication. Examples of these fast acting medications are:
- Endone, Dilaudid
- morphine mixture
- Actiq, Abstral .
The steroid medication dexamethasone can sometimes be very helpful for pain associated with metastases, such as bone or liver metastases.
What Do Lumps In My Breast Mean
Many conditions can cause lumps in the breast, including cancer. But most breast lumps are caused by other medical conditions. The two most common causes of breast lumps are fibrocystic breast condition and cysts. Fibrocystic condition causes noncancerous changes in the breast that can make them lumpy, tender, and sore. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the breast.
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What Are Metastatic And Recurrent Breast Cancer
Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control in one or both breasts.
- Metastatic breast cancer means that cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
- Recurrent breast cancer means that cancer has come back in or near the original site or in another part of the body.
For most women who have had breast cancer, their greatest fear is that the cancer will come back or spread. Finding out that this has happened can turn your world upside down. But there is hope. Some recurrent breast cancers can be successfully treated. Other recurrent breast cancers and metastatic breast cancer usually can’t be cured. But with treatment, some women live for many years.
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What Other Conditions Can Cause A Change In Breast Size
Some women naturally have two different-sized breasts. If your breasts were always different in size, theres no need to worry.
Your breasts can also change shape during times of hormonal transition, such as during pregnancy and menopause. Call your doctor if the change seems sudden, dramatic, and it doesnt appear to be linked to any hormone issue.
The Earlier That Anticipatory Nausea And Vomiting Is Identified The More Effective Treatment May Be
Antinausea drugs given for anticipatory nausea and vomiting do not seem to help.
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Palliative Care And Pain Control
The side effects from treatments and the cancer itself can affect quality of life.
Controlling pain and other symptoms should be part of standard care for everyone with breast cancer. Its especially important for those with metastatic breast cancer.
Treatment may include pain medications and may target specific parts of the body.
Who Can Help Me Control My Pain
It should be possible to achieve good control of your pain. It is important for you to let your team know if you are having a lot of pain, as a change in dose or use of different drugs may be helpful. Sometimes, your oncologist may suggest you see someone who specialises in cancer pain management, perhaps at a pain clinic or through palliative care .
It is important to talk with your treating team about any pain you may be experiencing. The more accurately you can describe the pain, the easier it will be for your doctor to prescribe the most effective treatment.
Keeping a diary noting the following could help:
- If 0 is no pain at all and 10 is the worst pain you could imagine, what number is yours?
- What does it feel like a dull ache or more like stabbing or burning?
- Is it constant or intermittent?
- If it comes and goes, when is it at its worst and how long does it last?
- Is it easy to pinpoint, or more generalised?
- Is there anything that provides relief or that makes it worse?
- If you have tried different medications, did one work better than another?
Some people worry that if they take too much pain medication they may become dependent on it. You may also find yourself worrying that increasing the amount of pain medication you are using means that your cancer is getting worse. There are many myths about pain-relieving agents and cancer, particularly morphine.
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Further Tests For Breast Cancer
If a diagnosis of breast cancer is confirmed, more tests will be needed to determine the stage and grade of the cancer, and to work out the best method of treatment.
If your cancer was detected through the NHS Breast Screening Programme, you’ll have further tests in the screening centre before being referred for treatment.
Stomach Upset Loss Of Appetite And Weight Loss
It can be more difficult to eat a healthy diet as these symptoms occur, setting up a vicious cycle. As women avoid certain foods because of stomach upset, the digestive system may lack the fiber and nutrients it needs to function optimally.
Over time, women may lose their appetite and have difficulty taking in the calories they need. Not eating regularly may cause significant weight loss and nutritional imbalances.
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Talking To Your Healthcare Team About Sex
Your healthcare team is made up of health professionals. You should feel comfortable telling them anything. There is nothing embarrassing about sexual dysfunction, as it can happen following cancer and its treatment. After fighting cancer, you deserve to have a healthy sex life.
You may wish to talk to healthcare professionals who specialize in areas related to sexual dysfunction including:
- Sex therapist
- Psychologist or counselor
Talking about sexual dysfunction can be difficult. Here are some sample questions to begin your conversation with your doctor:
- How will treatment affect my sex life?
- What can I do to manage sexual side effects?
- I have pain and dryness during sex. What can I do to manage this?
- I no longer feel any desire to have sex. What can I do to feel like myself again?
- Could you recommend a specialist?
- Will treatment affect my fertility?