Can I get radiation to my spinal metastases while receiving docetaxel?

Last Modified: March 11, 2007

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Can I get radiation to my spinal metastases while receiving docetaxel?

Answer

Carolyn Vachani RN, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink's Nurse Educator, responds:

You should discuss this directly with your radiation oncologist as it depends on the size of the area being treated and the dose of radiation being given each day. If radiation needs to be started emergently due to a spinal cord compression, the emergent situation takes precedent and radiation is not delayed even if chemotherapy was given very recently. If you receive concurrent radiation and chemotherapy you will be monitored closely for decreases in your blood counts. Radiation for cancer in the vertebrae (spinal bones) is typically given over a short period of time (once a day, typically 10 days) and can be done between chemotherapy treatments to minimize the severity of combining side effects.