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Vaginal cuff brachytherapy Vaginal cuff brachytherapy

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Unread 10-13-2010, 12:47 AM
Vaginal cuff brachytherapy

Today, I found out that I may be getting 3 sessions (doses?) of vaginal cuff brachytherapy in addition to external radiation. I've just finished 6 rounds of chemo.

I've been reading old posts on the forum and found a lot of answers there. One thing I'm confused about - someone said it took a couple of hours to set up the brachytherapy then the treatments themselves only took a few minutes. What exactly is involved in setting it up?

My pelvic exam today was very painful. The resident was a little rougher than she needed to be with the speculum but I think it would have hurt no matter what. I just ordered a larger dilator than the one I have so I can try to loosen things up.

Ever since my cancer diagnosis and chemo, my brain just isn't functioning as well as it used to. I don't absorb or retain medical info, whether it's the doctor talking or I'm trying to read pathology reports or look up info online.

I know my gyn-onc told me before but it came as a shock to me today when he reminded me what was found during my last surgery. My Endo Ca had gone through the muscle of the uterus, plus it was in the fatty tissue of the cul de sac. Also in one ovary. He said it's difficult to stage it because of the way my first surgery was done but he's calling it Stage 3 A, grade 1.

I've been too scared to ask him for statistics on my chances of survival. Soon after I got the Dx, I googled and the best outlook I found said 60% chance of survival at 5 years. So I feel like I have to do the radiation, whatever he and the radiologist agree on. If they don't agree, I'll probably have to get another opinion.

I guess the short version of what I'm saying is that I feel really alone and really discouraged tonight.
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Unread 10-13-2010, 07:40 AM
Re: Vaginal cuff brachytherapy

Remember that a lot of the info gathered are dated from a few years ago. Anything you research online HAS to be checked for dates. In the medical world reports even just 2 years old are basically "out of date". Not to mention all the advances in treatments and medications. My best advice would be to avoid reading statistics because you are NOT just a number!

The initial set up consists of a series of xrays to get the insert positioned exactly where they want to target the radiation. For me they also did a leg molding to make sure you stay in the same position for each treatment. That in itself took 10-15 minutes to do. Explain the discomfort to the techs and tell them you need them a gentle touch too.
Unread 10-13-2010, 11:48 AM
Re: Vaginal cuff brachytherapy

Thanks, Vega. I was really confused about the set up. It's a little less scary knowing what to expect.
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Unread 10-14-2010, 08:19 AM
Re: Vaginal cuff brachytherapy

As you see in old posts I had only 1 internal radiation. Last 2 were cancelled by GYN/ONC . I did have some trouble with radiation . I think it was given too early post surgery. Antway your question about set up goes as follows. I had internal exam by radiation doctor . Usual with speculum. Not uncomfortable . Then i was placed on table , i asked nurse when he would measure me . She said "ALL DONE " with exam. Then he inserted what looked like plastic cannula, not uncomfortable . I was left alone on table Radiation treatment lasted 6 min. I was so proud of myself . Went home and side effect was FLUID behind vaginal cuff. Never did get an answer to WHAT HAPPENED. Anyway just has cat scan,pap smear all negative . Coming on to one year in Dec . Good Luck
Unread 10-14-2010, 12:03 PM
Re: Vaginal cuff brachytherapy

Thanks for the info, Kiele. My pelvic exam earlier this week really hurt because my vagina has shrunk. I'm using a dilator to try to loosen it up before I see the radiologist. Glad to hear you're clear at one year.
Unread 10-18-2010, 09:53 PM
Re: Vaginal cuff brachytherapy

Iowacatlover, I was wondering how you're doing. I just read your post tonight and wanted to check in to see how you are. =)

Unread 10-19-2010, 12:14 PM
Re: Vaginal cuff brachytherapy

Thanks for asking. I'm still waiting for them to set up my first appt with the radiologist. Today I found out my white cells, red cells and neutrophils are low from chemo. I know I can't start radiation until all those counts are back to normal. They think that's only going to take a few days. I have restrictions about what to eat, washing hands, staying away from crowds and sick people, etc. because my immunity is really low.

I talked to one of the nurses and she told me they've made so many advances with radiation treatments that people now aren't having as many problems with side effects as what was happening even a couple of years ago. That was reassuring.

Does anyone know - do they usually do brachytherapy first and external rad after? Is brachytherapy usually like once a week or ??? I really want to see the radiologist so I can get those questions answered. It's not even 100% certain he'll actually agree with my gyn-onc on what treatment I should get.

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