Radiotherapy for Stage 4

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Hi everyone,

My dad is having radiotherapy over 5 days to help improve his quality of life. They stopped the chemo as he had a really bad reaction to it, he ended up with a brain abscess and his appendix burst after the first round. They said some people can’t handle chemo and due to his reaction they would no longer be treating to cure, surgery is no longer an option, despite the cancer being localised and no metastasis.

Has anyone else had radiotherapy alone? Before chemo he was unable to even swallow his own spit. After the first round, although it made him very poorly, he was able to move on to soft food. He’s still young, has no other health conditions and I just find it hard to believe he will only have 3-6 months. He had brain surgery to drain the abscess and surgery on his appendix, he recovered well and honestly he just seems like his normal self. He still talks about boxing, the football and how much he wants to open a resteraunt. He knows it’s no longer curable but in his head he has years.


    1. I have a friend who was diagnosed with gullet cancer 2 years ago. She was told it was terminal and that they would not operate. After chemo and radiotherapy this tumour and the spread completely disappeared;she did go on a radical anti sugar diet. She went back to work and today is absolutely fine (though is still being monitored ). I’m quite baffled by her story. Does this happen that massive tumours completely disappear with the operation?
  • I meant to say can tumours completely disappear, and the spread in lymph glands, with just chemotherapy and radiotherapy, because this has happened in her case even though she was told it was terminal. And they didn’t operate!

  • Hi Stavey I am really sorry to hear about your dad, and the awful reactions to chemo. I am sorry I don’t know anything about radiotherapy alone, but I have heard that radiotherapy + immunotherapy is a combination that could work quite well together. Not sure if this is something that has been considered for your dad, sometimes you can get it even if your CPS (PD-1) score isn’t technically high enough to qualify, it’s worth asking the doctors especially if they have completely said no to anymore chemo. In some instances they do swap out some drugs in chemo regimes but since his reaction was so bad perhaps it’s not a good idea. 
    sending you and your family my very best xx 

  • Hi Stavey, 

    My partner had radiotherapy once surgery was no longer an option last June; he had chemo to try and shrink the tumour initially but sadly it didn’t have the desired effect so it moved, like your Dad, to incurable.
    The radiotherapy was tough in terms of fatigue and it also for him made eating and drinking really hard whilst he was having the treatment. Even swallowing liquids became very hard for that time. However, once the treatment had ended his eating improved and there were a good few months where he could eat relatively easily and without discomfort as a result. That part was a great outcome so I hope you have a similar experience with your Dad. 
    My partner was able to have more (different type) of chemo from the Autumn so that aspect wiii be different to your Dad  but the size of that tumour has not increased since the radiotherapy so I hope that is similar for your Dad too. 
    It’s a tough journey; if there’s anything from my partners experience that might be useful for you then do ask.