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Radiation too soon to tell??

Joanne Ata

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Hello all.  This is my first post on the forum that nobody wants to be a part of. I’m just hoping for some insight.

My father who is the Center of my universe was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma stage 4 with Mets to lymph node and chest wall extending into 4th and 5th rib.  He just completed radiation to the chest wall on New Years Eve.  Radiation was a breeze but with the appropriate heavy duty pain meds.

On Friday he was admitted with the most severe pain.  Excruciating to watch.  CT was done which showed disease progression 1/2 cm. That coupled with a Staph infection.

Am I getting too worried? Is it too soon for the radiation to have started working? He starts immunotherapy next week.  Thoughts?? Thank you

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Very sorry to learn of your dad's hospital admission.

I'm supposing the severe pain is the 4th and 5th rib area and further that he had the pain when he started radiation. Is that correct? Does he have a lung primary tumor? Did he have fractional radiation -- say 30 treatments over the course of 6 or so weeks? Did his diagnosis show cancer present in his ribs or just on the chest wall in the vicinity of his ribs?

Assuming he had fractional radiation, its effect on bone metastatic pain ought to be pretty immediate. Could the staph infection be the cause of his pain?

I don't have a lot of answers for you but I might if you can answer my questions.

Stay the course.


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Hi Tom. Thanks for your reply.  I appreciate it.  Yes the pain is at the rib area.  The tumour is in the right upper lobe invading through the chest wall onto the ribs.  Radiation to the chest wall was given over the course of 3 weeks.  I’m hoping this pain is due to the staphylococcus infection as it came on suddenly.  Like I mentioned he did get pain relief at the start of radiation but also with the proper pain management.

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I too am sorry to hear about your dad.  Seeing our loved one in pain and suffering is a lot to handle.  There were times during my mom's treatment that were really hard to watch because of the bad effects that were either from the cancer or treatment.  She has had several hospital stays, the longest being nearly 2 weeks - this stay was for infection throughout her body, pneumonia, and pleural effusion.  Basically, an infection that started in her trachea due to a tracheal stent wreaked havoc on her body.  I honestly thought that it was the beginning of the end and it was so hard to watch.  So, are you too worried? -I don't think so, your dad is hurting and that is worrisome. 

I've known a couple of people who have had staph infections and they said it was very painful at times.  If your dad was doing well prior to this with the radiation and meds, the pain very well could be from the staph.  Hopefully once the staph is under control, he will feel some relief.  His recovery from this will likely delay his immunotherapy, which is okay.  My mom's initial lobectomy had to be delayed due to the medications she was taking, then her initial chemo & radiation was delayed due to a longer recovery from the lobectomy.  She spent about 1.5 years on immunotherapy and had to have a few doses delayed, or she missed them entirely, due to lung cancer complications.  It's pretty normal for things not to go as planned and that is okay.  Your dad needs to recover and be as strong as possible for his next bout of treatment.  So, please don't feel discouraged if the immunotherapy is delayed.  Basically, control is out of our hands and we just have to go with the flow and follow doctor's orders in these types of cases.  

I am happy that your dad has you as an advocate and caregiver. No matter how strong someone is, they always need someone in their corner to cheer them on, make them their favorite meal, or be their voice when their's is lost (or in my mom's case, change her bed sheets! lol).  I wish you the best in this journey.  It's not a fun one, but there has been some very positive things come from my mom's cancer journey, including a new appreciation of life.  I hope that you can find the little things that bring hope to your life.

Take Care,



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