expert type icon EXPERT

Robert L. Ebeling, III.

Radiation Oncologist

Dr. Robert Ebeling, III. practices Radiation Oncology in Denton and Plano, Texas. Radiation oncology is a medical specialty that involves treating cancer with radiation. While Dr. Ebeling, III. specializes in treating breast, GYN, and lung cancers and in the use of brachytherapy, he treats all types of cancers with radiation using the vast array of radiation therapy techniques. Radiation therapy uses carefully targeted and regulated doses of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells.
16 years Experience
Robert L. Ebeling, III.
  • Denton and Plano, Texas
  • Baylor University
  • Accepting new patients

What are some side effects of radiotherapy?

First, your doctor is probably correct. With appropriate radiation, we can now save people from having an amputation. For your question about side effects, it would depend greatly READ MORE
First, your doctor is probably correct. With appropriate radiation, we can now save people from having an amputation.
For your question about side effects, it would depend greatly on where the tumor was exactly. Radiation is a focused, local treatment, so its side effects are limited to the area treated. Often, a chondrosarcoma on a distal appendage, this greatly limits the short term side effects other than skin irritation and fatigue. Muscle can take very high doses of radiation without much in the way of side effects. Chondrosarcoma by definition is near a joint. This can mean that the joint can become stiffer over time - off set to some degree by exercise and moving the joint. The biggest long term side effect that we worry about is a tumor caused by the radiation itself. This is very uncommon and is dependent upon the age of the patient (the younger the patient, the longer they have to develop a second cancer). You should talk to your RadOnc about what that risk might be for you.

How soon would I experience side effects after starting radiation therapy?

Not likely. We typically say that any side effects from radiation start off as nothing and SLOWLY build up. Most people notice some effects between the 10th and 15th treatment. READ MORE
Not likely. We typically say that any side effects from radiation start off as nothing and SLOWLY build up. Most people notice some effects between the 10th and 15th treatment. Fatigue is very variable; some women have tons, and some have none.

Is a biopsy done through radiology?

It depends on the type of biopsy being done. It could be as simple as a "fine needle aspiration" (FNA) done in the doctors office to as complex as a full surgical case for an READ MORE
It depends on the type of biopsy being done. It could be as simple as a "fine needle aspiration" (FNA) done in the doctors office to as complex as a full surgical case for an "excisional biopsy". Most fall somewhere in between. A large portion of biopsies are "CT guided biopsies" meaning they are done in Radiology. They use the CT images during the actual procedure to help ensure they biopsy the correct lesion.

What is the success rate for radiation on cancer?

That greatly depends on the type cancer being treated, the stage of cancer being treated, and the patient's co-morbidities. You also bring up an excellent point of what exactly READ MORE
That greatly depends on the type cancer being treated, the stage of cancer being treated, and the patient's co-morbidities. You also bring up an excellent point of what exactly constitutes "success." For example, a small, peripheral, node negative lung cancer treated with stereotactic radiation has a local control rate of >95%, but the overall survival depends on the patient's characteristics. If they are otherwise very healthy, their 3-year overall survival can be around 95%, but if they have a host of medical problems, it can drop to 10% (note - this means the patient dies of something else, not the lung cancer). On the flip side, if you have advanced pancreatic cancer, the 1-year survival rate is only 10%, regardless of how healthy the patient is otherwise.
I hope this helps.

What Breast Cancer treatment is recommended?

I would highly recommend chemotherapy followed by breast and lymph node radiation. Your high number of positive lymph nodes is the driving factor in that decision.

Is there a chance of eye damage during radiation therapy for nose cancer?

The short answer is yes. Over time radiation can damage the retina and/or result in cataract formation. This, however generally would not start until about 6 months after the READ MORE
The short answer is yes. Over time radiation can damage the retina and/or result in cataract formation. This, however generally would not start until about 6 months after the radiation ended.

Is there something to be applied to the rest of the body during a radiation therapy?

Typically no. The noticible effects of the radiation on the skin will be limited to the areas that are within the beam's path. It can be helpful to use a prescription steroid READ MORE
Typically no. The noticible effects of the radiation on the skin will be limited to the areas that are within the beam's path. It can be helpful to use a prescription steroid cream (such as mometasone) in the treated area, but there should not be much, if any, effect on the skin of the rest of the body.

How long does a radiation therapy treatment usually last?

The actual "in room" time is typically between 10-15 minutes. The beam is only on for about 2-3 minutes.

For uterine cancer is radiation required even after removing the uterus?

The answer to your question depends greatly on what features the cancer had when they examined it after surgery. For endometrioid, small, grade 1 tumors that do not invade more READ MORE
The answer to your question depends greatly on what features the cancer had when they examined it after surgery. For endometrioid, small, grade 1 tumors that do not invade more than 1/2 of the uterine muscle, sometimes there is no further treatment needed. For more advanced stages, or if the tumor was clear cell or papillary serous, the adjuvant treatment may include radiation with or without chemotherapy.

My skin looks burnt after a radiation therapy session?

I am assuming that by "second radiation session" you mean you have only had two treatments. If this is the case, the skin changes you are seeing are not from the radiation. The READ MORE
I am assuming that by "second radiation session" you mean you have only had two treatments. If this is the case, the skin changes you are seeing are not from the radiation. The radiation side effects are cumulative, slow to onset, and typically don't start until about the second week of treatment.

Is loss of appetite normal for a patient undergoing radiation therapy?

In general, radiation therapy can cause fatigue which can lead to less desire to eat. In that respect it really does not matter where he is being treated, although I would have READ MORE
In general, radiation therapy can cause fatigue which can lead to less desire to eat. In that respect it really does not matter where he is being treated, although I would have to say complete loss of appetite is unusual unless he is being treated to his brain, esophagus, stomach, or rectum.

Is it an issue if someone undergoes a mammogram in pregnancy?

Short answer: Not likely. Long answer: While there is no "safe" dose of radiation to a developing fetus, dose to a developing fetus is likely very, very low if done with modern READ MORE
Short answer: Not likely.
Long answer: While there is no "safe" dose of radiation to a developing fetus, dose to a developing fetus is likely very, very low if done with modern mammography equipment. Most mammogram units have a plate that is installed perpendicular to the machine just below the imaging plate. This ensures that a woman’s stomach does not get in the way of the image (if she is overweight). This plate is also shielded to avoid excess radiation dose to a woman’s stomach/bowels. In your wife’s case, this likely provided shielding for the developing fetus in her uterus. Although the risk to the fetus was diminishingly low, I would still talk with her OB-GYN about your concerns.

What is the chance of survival in stage 4 lung cancer?

Short answer: Chemotherapy may help depending on his goals, but there is nearly zero chance of long term survival. Long answer: The median survival of someone over 70 with Stage READ MORE
Short answer: Chemotherapy may help depending on his goals, but there is nearly zero chance of long term survival.
Long answer: The median survival of someone over 70 with Stage 4 lung cancer is about 2-4 months. The fact that you say it is making him weak is a bad sign and likely puts him on the lower end of that spectrum. Chemotherapy comes in many flavors, some more toxic than others and some more effective than others. I would discuss your father’s goals of his care to get a clearer understanding of he wants “everything done that can be done” or would rather just focus on being comfortable.

Is it safe for a woman with cancer to take an emergency contraceptive pill?

From a radiation standpoint, yes. I don't think the contraceptive would interfere with chemotherapy, but I would ask her medical oncologist to be sure.

Can a bronchoscopy help in diagnosing cystic fibrosis?

This is not really a question dealing with cancer or cancer treatment; this would be better posed to an expert in that field.

How can I prevent eye damage during radiation therapy for treating nose cancer?

To be honest, there is little you as a patient can do other than follow any instructions your Radiation Oncologist has given you. The biggest factor in how much dose your eyes READ MORE
To be honest, there is little you as a patient can do other than follow any instructions your Radiation Oncologist has given you. The biggest factor in how much dose your eyes get is how the treatment is planned. It would be very reasonable for you to ask your doctor how he or she is planning on sparing your eyes from excess radiation.

Can biopsy on a pregnant woman cause harm to the baby?

I think that depends on what kind of radiation they used to locate and biopsy the growth. If the biopsy was done with ultrasound guidance (most common) there is no radiation involved, READ MORE
I think that depends on what kind of radiation they used to locate and biopsy the growth. If the biopsy was done with ultrasound guidance (most common) there is no radiation involved, and thus no risk. If the biopsy was done in a CT scanner, there is some scatter radiation, but not much. Usually in this case there would only be a very small area that was actually scanned and there is a good distance between the area scanned (armpit) and where the fetus is (low pelvis). While there is no "safe" dose of radiation to a developing fetus, it is likely very, very low if the biopsy was done with CT guidance. If it was, you can request a report on how much radiation was used during that scan and talk to your OB-GYN and/or your Radiation Oncologist (if she has seen one) about how much the fetus actually received and the risks associated with that dose.

Is it an issue if someone undergoes a mammogram in pregnancy?

The short answer is highly unlikely. While there is indeed some radiation in a mammogram, the dose is quite low at 4mSv and only directed at the breast. To put that in perspective, READ MORE
The short answer is highly unlikely. While there is indeed some radiation in a mammogram, the dose is quite low at 4mSv and only directed at the breast. To put that in perspective, smoking 1 pack of cigarettes per day for a year would expose your body to ~25mSv. Mammogram devices usually have a stomach shield built into the device, so that plus the distance from the mammogram head would result in a diminishingly low dose to the developing fetus. While there is no "safe" dose of radiation to a fetus, it is unlikely that there was any damage. To be on the safer side, I would ask her OB-GYN what the likely dose was and what to expect, he or she could give a better estimate than myself without knowing the individual mammogram unit, your wife's height, weight, and the gestational age of the fetus.

What is the chance of survival in stage 4 lung cancer?

Stage 4 lung cancer is, by definition, incurable. That is not to say it is not treatable, and chemotherapy is the method of choice. Depending on what type of lung cancer, what READ MORE
Stage 4 lung cancer is, by definition, incurable. That is not to say it is not treatable, and chemotherapy is the method of choice. Depending on what type of lung cancer, what mutations is has (if any), the number of sites of metastatic disease, the drugs used for chemo, his symptoms and overall health, his overall outcome and symptoms can be dramatically different.
Without knowing any of the above, the average survival of a Stage 4 lung cancer patient is about 2-8 months, but this is a great question to ask his medical oncologist who could give a much better estimate.

Can a pneumonia cause lung cancer?

Short answer: Not with only one episode of pneumonia. Longer answer: We know that chronic irritation of the lung can lead to a type of lung cancer called Squamous Cell, but by READ MORE
Short answer: Not with only one episode of pneumonia.
Longer answer: We know that chronic irritation of the lung can lead to a type of lung cancer called Squamous Cell, but by chronic, I mean years and years of nonstop irritation. And even then it would have to be in the same location as the irritation. IF the cancer was in the same spot as the pneumonia, the likely answer is that the cancer was there at the time, it just could not be seen because of the pneumonia.