Hi, my mum had a large nasal tumour removed a couple of weeks back. Thankfully, the scan prior to her operation showed that the growth was limited to the top left side of her face and had not eroded any bone structure, so we assumed it to be benign (sorry if mispelt). She saw the ENT doc today and who told her that they had found some damaged cells in the tumour they had removed. They added that in order to make sure that any remaining damaged tissues don't get out of hand, she will have to have radiotherapy 5 days a week for six weeks. Sorry to ask such an obvious question, but is it normal to have radiotherapy that frequently and for such a lengthy time? Does this indicate something serious? What is she to expect physically and emotionally? Please help - thanks!
By radiotherapy, I believe they are talking about radiation therapy. And yes, it is perfectly normal to have it 5 days/week for 5-6, even 7 weeks. That's how it's done.
The purpose of having radiation therapy is to kill any small, individual cells that may have been left behind by the surgery. Did they say what the damaged cells were? That is, squamous cell, small cell, or anything like that? Or were they considered "pre-cancerous"?
The fact that there was no bone affected is very good, and indicates a much better chance of total cure than if it had already spread to bone.
Thanks for the info! I don't really know the answers to your questions as I'm waiting to speak to her doc regarding the specifics of the oncology report. Again, another obvious question: generally, does the fact that she is going to have this radiotherapy treatment indicate that some cancerous cells were found or is this just precautionary? Thanks again!
At any rate, the answer to your last question is, unfortunately, that it probably is cancerous. However, try not to get overwhelmed by the word. There are many wonderful treatments today. I've been living cancer-free for two years, after having been treated for a rare form that was third stage when diagnosed. So, there is MUCH hope.
Islington, London - England! I wasn't aware there were two Islingtons in the US!
My mum recieved the hospital report yesterday. She had something called 'adenocarcinoma'. The surgeons had removed the growth completely, they also removed the surrounding tissue. Do you know anything about this type of cancer? In answer to your very first reply, it's a squamos cell isn't it? What does this mean?
I'm glad to hear that you've been free of cancer for two years, good luck!
After I posted my last response, I realized you must be from England because you refer to your mother as "mum"...should have picked up on that!
If the diagnosis is adenocarcinoma, then that's the type of cancer...it is not squamous cell, that's a different type.
Radiation to the face and neck can cause some problems, notably with the saliva glands, swallowing, etc. Frequently, however, those problems are only temporary and will diminish after the radiation therapy stops. Radiation to that area can also cause some dental problems, so your mum should be under the care of a good dentist as well.
I'm curious as to why they aren't giving her any chemotherapy as well as the radiation treatment, although there are cases where chemo just doesn't add much to the therapeutic benefits. Each case is very individual.
You may want to do a search for "adenocarcinoma". If you type in 'adenocarcinoma -.com", you'll get only governmental or organizational sites, which is a good way to get some excellent info. I used to have a list of sites but, unfortunately, my computer crashed last week and I lost all my bookmarks.
Good luck, and post again if you have further questions. I can't answer every question (probably not even most of them, LOL), but perhaps I can at least point you in the right direction to get answers.
My mum saw the radiologist today. She has decided that a combination of chemo and radio-therapy would be the best approach to rid her of the cancer. On hearing that I nearly fell apart because it finally hit home that she has cancer. The tumour was quite large and agresssive, she was very lucky that it had not eroded her bone structure. Anyway, I quietly asked the doc of her chances of success with this treatment - she said around 70%. This was not what I wanted to hear, I would have been happier with 100%, but I suppose it doesn't work that way with cancer. So here goes for three very difficult months. Wish us luck!
In terms of cancer, 70% is an EXCELLENT prognosis! The type of cancer I had only has a 20% chance of a 5-year survival. I've been cancer-free for two years already, and am quite positive I'm going to survive for more than 5 years.
I'm very glad your mum is going to have both chemo and radiation. That's a much more agressive treatment and, I think, will give her a greater chance of survival than radiation alone. See if you can find out the names of the chemo drugs she's going to be on and, if I know anything about them, I'll let you know.
I can imagine how scary this must be for you. Sometimes it helps if you set aside a certain time of day to just "worry", and then try to put it out of your mind the rest of the time. Also, you could try actively thinking positive thoughts...like picturing the cancer cells dying and healthy tissue taking over. It feels much better than just agonizing and, who knows, maybe all that positive energy (like prayer, etc.) really does make a difference.