Yesterday I met with a Radiation Oncologist to discuss the idea of irradiating my adrenal tumor which seems to be defying the trend of my other cancer tumors and growing larger. He explained that adrenal tumors are not usually of great concern because they typically just sit there and do not cause significant problems. However, in this case, since the tumor has defiantly grown and could affect adrenal or kidney function, he will make an exception.
The program involves daily radiation for two weeks (actually 10 days, Monday through Friday for two weeks). He called the course of radiation “tricky” since there are so many vital organs which lie nearby, including the adrenal gland, the kidney, and the liver. When pressed about the dangers he concluded that the risk to these organs was only about 1%. He seemed very confident that this radiation program will be successful but also said that it would be several weeks before the effects on the tumor would be noticeable.
We also discussed side effects, since there are ALWAYS side effects! The major side effect appears to be fatigue (although I cannot imagine being more fatigued than I am now). Other possible side effects include nausea, diarrhea, and redness around the irradiated area.
He actually did a CT Scan after our discussion just to map out the area and to get a pulse on exactly where the tumor is. They will use CT Scans on each treatment day to be sure that the radiation is being delivered to the correct location. So my cancer program has taken a new turn. Wish me luck.