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Routine for radiation treatment

Hi All,

From the U.S.

Just started radiation treatments a week ago. Have some problems already with my frequency and urge of urination.
Doctor has me drink 20 oz. of water 3 hours before treatment, then urinate 1 and 15 minutes before treatment, then drink another 20 oz. 45 minutes before treatment. Is that a normal protocol? Then I need to drive ½ hour to get to treatment. First day was OK, bladder very full but managed. Second day – had oatmeal for breakfast – didn’t have any feeling of full bladder at treatment, but afterward went a little, then drove 15 minutes had to really go and did stop and go , then 15 minutes later had to go and couldn’t hold it in. Yuck.
Have to drive about 40 minutes after treatment to get to work.
So my normal routine for the last three days is, 20 oz. like above, urinate right after treatment (some, not a lot), wait in office for 5-10 minutes, then go again (pretty much), then drive to work.
So 1) is the drinking of water, etc. normal protocol.
2) What’s going on with my urge and frequency of urination after a few day of radiation?
I talk with the doctor tomorrow.

Re: Routine for radiation treatment

You are probably getting some irritation already from the radiation though just a week of it seems a bit premature for such a thing. You want a full bladder for the treatment to keep the bladder out of harm's way. An empty bladder sags into the target area. (and an empty colon is recommended so it is not intruding into the radiation area) I also think a full bladder makes a better "picture" on their scanner so they can make fine adjustments to the beam aiming to avoid the bladder. (Fluid in the bladder shows up on the scan more clearly I think than just tissue.) Basically, time your water drinking so you have a comfortably full bladder by the time your appointment is. I was told it takes about twenty minutes for excess water to reach the bladder so time your last drink of water for about that time span. Definitely ask about the increased urge you are experiencing already. Sounds a little early for that but it is one of the side effects of the treatment. best wishes for successful treatment. (You didn't say if this is primary cancer treatment or salvage radiation treatment as there is a difference. Jon.

Re: Routine for radiation treatment

Hi CJ, in the meantime, incontinence kit can be handy, just in case, from the way you describe your situation.
All the best, FCB

Re: Routine for radiation treatment

The objective is to have a full bladder during the radiation treatment and it should be the same fullness as when they are doing the pre-treatment scan. I would just have my morning coffee about 45 minutes before treatment, drink a bit of water on the way and I was guaranteed to have a full bladder but not painfully full. Ask your doctor if you can reduce your water drinking but you will make sure you have a full bladder for the treatment and he will probably say that that is fine.

Re: Routine for radiation treatment

A full bladder is needed to keep everything in the same place as when you had your pre opp. scan. Coffe is often on the banned list as caffine apears to irate the bladder a little Good luck

Re: Routine for radiation treatment

The foods were not actually banned (at least where I got radiated) but are listed as foods to eliminate if you are having problems. Coffee may even protect against some radiation damage as suggested in some papers but that really hasn't been proven.