Castleman Disease

+ -Text Size

Treating Castleman Disease TOPICS

Radiation therapy for Castleman disease

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cells. Radiation focused from a source outside the body is called external beam radiation. Radiation therapy has sometimes been used instead of surgery to treat localized Castleman disease (CD). Some doctors may also use it as part of the treatment for multicentric CD.

The treatment is much like getting an x-ray, but the radiation is more intense. The procedure itself is painless. Before the treatments start, the radiation team takes careful measurements to determine the correct angles for aiming the radiation beams and the proper dose. Each treatment lasts only a few minutes, although the setup time – getting you into place for treatment – usually takes longer. Most often, radiation treatments are given 5 days a week for several weeks.

Side effects of radiation therapy may vary but often include mild skin problems and fatigue. Radiation of the abdomen may cause nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. These side effects tend to improve a short while after the radiation is stopped. Radiation to the chest area may damage the heart and lungs. This might eventually lead to problems such as shortness of breath or an increased risk of heart attacks. Radiation may also make the side effects of chemotherapy worse if they both are given at the same time.

Last Medical Review: 06/11/2012
Last Revised: 06/11/2012