radiotherapy scarring on lung

A recent CT scan has shown scarring on my right lung probably due to a course of radiotherapy in 1990. I understand that this means I have fibrosis of the lung which means the little airsacs don’t work as well as they should and so I don’t take in as much oxygen. The only side effects so far are slightly wheezing and a feeling of being absolutely exhausted after 5 minutes of any strenuous activity. Fortunately my other lung seems to be ok.

I wondered if anyone else who had had radiotherapy in the 1980s and early 90s had this too. Those of you who have had radiotherapy since the early 1990s should be all right as I think treatment was much more targeted then.

I have always wanted to know as much as possible about my illness and am thinking of making an appointment to see my GP in the next few weeks as I don’t see the oncologist until June but would be interested if anyone else on the site has been diagnosed with this and how things have progressed.

Also does the radiotherapy continue affecting your body years after treatment?


I am sorry to hear about your lung problems due to radiation. As far as I am aware it is still a problem today especially if you have needed high doses of rads for some reason.
I have also developed a brachial plexus nerve disorder (shoulder/armpit) in my affected side meaning I’ve lost feeling and full function in my thumb, index finger and middle finger of my affected side although I am still waiting the full MRI report on that but as far as I am aware it is due to rads damage and was told this usually happens about 2-3 years after rads has finished.
Some people develop a rib/sternum problem due to rads so it is still happening.
There is an organisation called RAGE which is a rads damage support group but I understand them to be very radical in their beliefs and as I have widespread secondaries now I do not have the energy to go through their pages on the internet.
I had radiotherapy in Nov/Dec 2005 but had 3 fields due to high node involvement and an extra week of booster rads as I’d developed skin mets 8 weeks after my mastectomy so I had 6 weeks all in all. I developed radiation fibrosis on that side which was picked up on CT scan in May 06. I was breathless then which is why I had the CT. Unfortunately, in Sept 06 it was discovered I had secondary spread in the lymph systen of my lungs (lymphangitis) which is worse on the unaffected side.
Medical students love listening to my chest as it makes different sounds on the fibrosed side to the cancer side.
Good luck and ask to be referred to a chest physician. I use a high dose steroid inhaler which does help and I had a bronchoscopy which was not a problem at all.
All the best

Hi Kate,

Thanks for your helpful reply. Sorry to read that you have secondary spread to your unaffected lung and so can’t rely on this to counteract the radiation scarring.

If we have the technology to send people into space, you would have thought that some one would be able to devise more targeted radiotherapy nowadays so that people don’t get radiation produced side effects in non malignant areas.

I suppose it is all down to lack of money.

Take care.

Wendy x