Chemoradiotherapy

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Would be interested to hear how people coped with Chemoradiotherapy 

  • Hi

    I was diagnosed in March 2021, T2N0M0. I had radical chemoradiation which was 2 types of chemotherapy - 4 rounds of cisplatin and 12 weeks of capecitabine tablets daily, and 25 radiotherapy which started on the same day as the 2nd round of cisplatin. No operation (yet). I'm part of the SCOPE 2 trial though I wasn't randomly chosen to have the higher dose of radiotherapy so had the standard dose. The tumour had completely blocked my oesophagus so I had a stomach tube fitted and syringed Fortisip, water and medication through that. I lost weight and was very tired. I slept a lot. After the first cisplatin I was able to swallow tiny amounts of food - I had cravings for cheesy biscuits like Ritz crackers, they crumble easily. It was hard (both on body and mind) having chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the same time. Towards the end of radiotherapy it gets harder to swallow again as the oesophagus gets more inflamed. 

    For 2 years afterwards I had tests every 3 months which was a gastroscopy with dye plus either a CT scan or PET CT scan (alternating). I'm now on 6 monthly tests though just CT scans, no more PET CT scans. I feel lucky that I haven't had the operation (yet) - though the anxiety of tests every 3 months when the oncologist said it's more likely than not that the cancer will come back, and come back quickly, was mentally hard. So far I'm 2.5 years clear. Just had latest set of tests, speaking to my oncologist on Monday so got my fingers crossed. 

    Amanda

  • Hi there. I had four infusions of Cisplatin (once every three weeks) plus 950mg Capecitabane tablets twice a day for 11 weeks. On week six I began daily radiotherapy sessions (excluding weekends) so that all treatments came to an end after 11 weeks. Although I was advised that I might suffer various side effects, the only noticeable side effect was feeling very tired and I needed to nap through the day. I was always able to eat throughout my diagnosis and cancer treatment, but when the radiotherapy started, I started to notice more difficulty in swallowing. I do remember having fish and chips during the last week of radiotherapy, but had to take my time and chew thoroughly. However, I wasn’t as adventurous again for a long while and adjusted my diet accordingly. They do warn you that after radiotherapy has finished you continue to feel discomfort which was definitely the case for me, but it subsided around week three after finishing radiotherapy. As I said, I was always able to eat normal food, but had to be a bit careful with my choices. 
    Obviously taking tablets every day, and then visiting the hospital every three weeks for infusions (I used to go in around 8.30am and leave around 4.30pm) and daily radiotherapy sessions from week six (the actual ‘zapping’ only takes a few minutes) is time consuming and doesn’t leave a lot of room for other things (obviously depends on how far you are from your hospital) but you do get into the habit, and after all is said and done, it’s a very small price to pay in the hope that you can be cancer free. 
    I hope that this is useful for you. If there are any other questions, no matter how small or big they are, please feel free to ask. 
    Please do not feel alone. I used this website daily for information and inspiration, even though for a long while I didn’t post myself. Best wishes, Julie x