Friday, December 7, 2007

radiation or no? that is the question...

I'm deciding whether or not to get radiation. There is a 90% chance that the cancer is dead and gone forever. The radiation's job is to take care of the other 10%. But there are some nasty potential side effects from the radiation, including but not limited to heart failure and decreased lung capacity. The doc said they are less likely than the cancer coming back ... but I know that that's only relatively short-term. They have used chemo in conjunction with radiation only for about 20 years to treat Hodgkins, so they can't know yet what the effects might be in 30 or 40 or 50 years.

Then again, they have used radiation for longer than that overall. I don't know if everyone gets the same kind of radiation. There are hundreds of different chemo drugs. Not sure if radiation is as ... diverse.

If the cancer comes back, we go back to square one and do the chemo thing again. While I don't enjoy the prospect of more chemo (and losing 6+ months of my life), I don't enjoy the prospect of heart troubles, either.

At this point, I know there's a substantial family history of heart disease. I also know that they all had other risk factors (diabetes, obesity, smoking) ... so is it really genetic?

Getting radiation doesn't guarantee that the cancer won't return. It just reduces the risk. By how much? I don't know.

It's a lot of information to process. If you have thoughts about it (or more questions to ask), I am open to them.

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