Does radiation always shrink a tumor?

My step dad, Jim, has received 12 aggressive radiation treatments for lung cancer and today the Dr. said the treatments are not working. His breathing is much worse and he is weaker. He was just diagnosed 2 months ago and is 78 years old. I just assumed radiation always shrank a tumor. How could it not?

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G - sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't - it really depends on the tumor, what stage it's at - the type of cancer it is - so many variables - you must speak with the Oncologist to get the real answers - do not look on line - it will not be accurate information - and it will only scare you - talk to the Dr.

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Hi, you don't mention anywhere what type of cancer and what stage? Was he not receiving chemo or just radiation? Take care, JC

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No chemo just radiation. Stage IV,

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Is it SC or NSC, where is the tumor they're trying to shrink? Where are the mets? More info needed so we can help you better. Take care, JC

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The advantage of removing a tumor surgically is that it is taken out in one swoop and people tend to recover faster from swelling. Radiation may be a lot easier and avoids many of the problems of invasive surgery, but it does not eliminate the tumor immediately. While radiation does not actually remove a tumor, it damages the DNA so badly that the tumor is eradicated. It sometimes takes three or four months to shrink, causing the patient to deal with the tumor's symptoms longer and to possibly need steroids for a long period. A fast growing tumor tends to shrink fast and a slower growing tumor tends to shrink slower.

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