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My dad is having radiotherapy

(10 Posts)
PrettyCandles Wed 05-Sep-07 14:12:14

His cancer has returned after 8 years. He is being really cagey about it, didn't even want to let his children know until mum persuaded him that we must know about it. He won't talk about it. What mum tells me is coloured by her fear and I really don't know what to expect, or how I can help them. I'm afraid to Google.

Will somebody who knows or has been trhough this, please give me some idea what to expect?

And if anyone in RL has identified me here please don't say anything to my parents! Daddy really doesn't want anyone to know about this and I've hesitated to post in case I break his confidentiality.

lalaa Wed 05-Sep-07 14:21:12

I've had radiotherapy but not for a recurrence - mine was for primary breast cancer.

Each person's amount of radiotherapy is different. Mine was 5 weeks in total - every week day at the hospital. I found that tiring in itself, so it's difficult to say whether the radiotherapy made me tired. It doesn't hurt. I didn't have any other side effects.

If you want more information about your Father's illness, you need to find out what type of cancer it is (if you don't know already), whether it is a primary cancer or whether it is secondary. Once you have that information, I would take a deep breath, go to the website and look it up.

Fingers crossed for you.

Wisteria Wed 05-Sep-07 14:26:13

PC - I'm so sorry. It makes it so much harder when things aren't discussed with you, I understand.
As far as helping them, what I did for my Mum and Dad when she was dying was make a load of meals for the freezer, pies, bakes and lasagnes etc which could be easily heated up - she ate a lot of home made soup when she was having radiotherapy and then chemo (could have been the other way round).
Your mum will probably be exhausted emotionally and physically too so any practical help you could offer would probably be appreciated. It helped me as it kept me busy and stopped me dwelling on it.
HTH - and sending you hugs xx

PrettyCandles Wed 05-Sep-07 14:35:34

Thanks for your replies.

Am I right in understanding that primary means the original cancer, and secondary means cancer spread to another organ? If the recurrence is at the same site, with no other cancers, does that make it primary or secondary?

I wish I could be of practical help to my dps, but I live an hour or two away, one LO in school full-time, one part-time (and one baby), so there isn't enough time for me to get there and back. And, much as they love having the LOs around, they have admitted that they don't have the energy for them ATM.

lalaa Wed 05-Sep-07 14:39:18

yes, primary is original cancer, secondary is when it has spread. i think local recurrence is still counted as primary, but not sure, and I think it might depend on what type of cancer it is.

Fauve Wed 05-Sep-07 14:42:45

PC, my dad is also having radiotherapy at the moment. He is having no side effects or ill effects so far except tiredness, even though he's 84. We had a lot of misconceptions about radiotherapy being worse than it has actually been for him. I think sometimes just the thought of it is more disturbing than is rational.

Like Lalaa, I have found CancerBackup fantastic. I got masses of their publications - about the particular cancer, plus general booklets on eg Talking about Cancer - but you might prefer to get info from their helpline, because the booklets, although carefully worded, are still frank. In the first few weeks I was on the phone to the helpline almost daily. Their staff are really knowledgeable, and reassuring, so it's much better than googling. They don't seem to mind lots of phone calls! Obviously the staff do vary a bit, but some are unbelievably good.

My dad is going daily for five weeks, and he is picked up by a volunteer driver. He travels with other people going for radiotherapy, so he finds the chatter reassuring, although the journey is also tiring.

I'd be very happy to share experiences with you; I'm finding it tough, too. I'm sorry you and he are going through this sad

Wisteria Wed 05-Sep-07 14:46:38

It's even harder for you then PC if you live far away, I did too with similar circumstances, but both dcs in school and parents 4 hours away.

What I used to do was cook up a storm, freeze it, then transport it down but not always possible I know.

My dp was very supportive during this time as were friends, so I managed to get a few days when I could go and give my Mum my fulltime attention for 2-3 days at a time.

I sent lots of cards and silly little things through the post, just so they knew I was thinking of them too.

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 05-Sep-07 14:48:30

PC, my dad is about to start a course of radiotherapy, so I will hang out and sympathise smile. His is for recently diagnosed prostate cancer, and tbh it is a relief that it is "just" radiotherapy rather than chemo or surgery as we didn't know if the cancer had spread (it hasn't)

My mum had radiotherapy for breast cancer some years ago now. Mostly she reported that it made her really tired, and I have heard that from others too.

PrettyCandles Fri 07-Sep-07 23:02:05

Thank you all so much for your posts, and for sharing your experiences. I'm now not so afraid of finding out more. I'll look at Cancerbackup, thank you.

Fauve Fri 07-Sep-07 23:11:32

Mine has had three weeks of it now and is still finding it a relatively easy ride with virtually no side effects except tiredness. He is more cheerful now that treatment is happening, he feels better for the treatment, and he's in a process which is going to plan. I am also finding it all much easier to deal with now, after a very rocky start. Every sympathy for you.

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