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to do internal radiation or not? to do internal radiation or not?

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Unread 07-25-2003, 05:46 PM
to do internal radiation or not?

Reading about how most of you had external AND internal radiation is making me nervous. I hated the whole idea of radiation, and it took essentially a major intervention on the part of my entire family, healing team, and circle of friends to talk me into the 25 external treatments. When the radiologists said they wanted to do brachyotherapy after that, I had already reached my "limit." The thing is, they just couldn't give me a good enough reason. I didn't have a cervix anymore, which is where my cancer was. In fact, after my first surgery (a deep cone section) there wasn't even any carcinoma when the pathology came back from my radical hyst. I did, however, have 2 lymph nodes affected, so that is why I finally agreed to get zapped. But why would I need it internally too--when every doc I spoke to assured me that it was exclusively for the vagina? My vagina never had cancer, nor did my cervix have any left by the time I had my hyst????? It seems to me that doctors get too stuck on what's routine without considering your individual case. I was confident turning my radiologist down for the internal radiation since even my oncologists agreed with my reasoning that I didn't need my vagina treated when it was never involved. Plus I got great numbers that hovered around 95% cured. But it seems like most of you got the internal rays, so I'm wondering if there's something I am missing???? Should I go back and get it???? The thing is, I feel like my vagina's messed up enough already between 2 surgeries and 25 radiation treatments, and I might like to roll in the hay again, being that I'm only 33!!! (and my husband's hot stuff!!!) Plus, the whole idea of radiation horrifies me--I'm 100% organic and don't even eat microwaved food. But why did you all get it, I wonder, especially if you had cervical/uterine/ovarian cancers?
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Unread 07-25-2003, 07:56 PM
to do internal radiation or not?

Hi there,

I'm sorry you're having to go through all of this. I've been down the same unpleasant path.

I just finished my external and internal radiation after healing from a radical hysterectomy. Just like yourself I was worried about damaging my vagina even more with brachytherapy. While undergoing the internal simulation, I almost wimped out and asked the doctor if just undergoing external radiation is enough.

She said it is not enough to affect the vagina. She said external is enough for the lymph nodes, but internal radiation helps rid the vagina of microscopic cancer cells that were not detected on the pathology report. Plus, only the top two centimeters of my vagina were radiated.

You're probably fine as is, but I just thought I would relay my experience to you. I'm also pretty young (30 years old) so vaginal damage was a major concern.

A radiation oncologist I spoke with at MD Anderson said women in their 20's and 30's usually do well vaginally speaking after radiation. I'm not sure exactly why this is, but her comment helped put me at ease.

Have you used your dilator or are you having regular intercourse yet? It's imperative to do so in order to keep the vagina from scarring and shrinking...even with just external radiaton.

Good luck, I know it's scary.

Take Care,
Unread 07-26-2003, 11:29 AM
Had Internal and External

Hi, MesaSky--

I had both internal and external radiation for endometrial cancer. I completed treatment in August 1999, which also included a radical hysterectomy, BSO and lymphadenectomy. My gynecologic oncologist determined that I needed external beam radiation because my tumor was deeply invasive into the uterine wall. He concluded that I needed the internal radiation (vaginal brachytherapy) because my tumor arose in the lower uterine segment. My gyn-onc's clinical impression that the tumor had invaded the cervix. (The pathologist determined that the tumor was very close to the cervix, but had not in fact invaded the cervical stroma).

My gyn-onc explained that because of the tumor's location, I needed the internal radiation to ensure that I did not have a vaginal recurrence, because the vagina is a common site for the tumor to recur. The external radiation covers the entire pelvis and is not specifically targeted to the vaginal area.

My gyn-onc has very good credentials, many years experience, and is extremely well-respected by not only his patients, but also the entire medical community. After 25 or 30 years in this business, I would suspect that he's seen just about everything. I took his advice, and have never regretted it for a minute. I'm in better health now than I was before my diagnosis (and I was in great shape then), and my I'm enjoying life more than I could ever have imagined in my wildest dreams!

I hope this information is helpful to you--

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Unread 07-27-2003, 07:36 AM
to do internal radiation or not?

I can tell you why I had the internal radiation done. My recurrence was at the top of my vagina, so they told me that I would have external radiation first, then the internal would be where the recurrence was, and get the last bit left.

So it made sense to me to get the internal, but I have to agree with you on your decision why get it if there is no cancer in your vagina?

's and ers to you...
Unread 07-27-2003, 10:05 AM
to do internal radiation or not?

Kristine, MoeKay and Tammy,

I appreciate your insights. I especially appreciate the reminder to use the dilator, Kristine, because I've been kind of lazy about that (and only have the energy for intercourse about once a week, rather than 3 times like dilation needs to be done.) Are you able to stay disciplined with it?

You're all wise women to do the MOST PROACTIVE thing and get the internal, just in case any undetected cells were there. I personally chose to take the very small risk. Since it was originally out of the question for me to even do the external, I pushed against my instincts and values as much as I could already. I guess I can't really look back because they only agreed to do the brachytherapy right after the external. I only just found this wonderful group last week and would have loved to discuss it with you a month ago when I had to decide. But I have faith that I am CURED and want to think of myself as 100% healthy and safe, so I guess I will try to not let any more doubt in.

Tammy, I'm so sorry you had a recurrence. What kind of statistics did they give you the first time around and was it a huge shock to you??

MoeKay, you said it well! I, also, am enjoying life more than I could have ever imagined in my wildest dreams!! I feel like I grew up all at once, and was able to grow out of my moodiness and negativity. I'm so filled with gratitude and hope. As a result, I feel like I'm ATTRACTING positive things towards me (or being more attracted to positive things and people.) My husband and I get along better than ever, and we just found a piece of land in the country where we will build our dream home (humble, rustic solar house.) All the meditation and yoga and self-help lessons are starting to kick in, and I feel like I'm LIVING IN THE MOMENT. And love it here!

THanks again for your thoughts and care.
Unread 07-27-2003, 11:09 AM
had internal

I had cervical cancer ,a mas about the size of an orange. I had the 25 radiation treatments and chemo once a week,also had the internel Rad. for a week,then a TAH/BSO. It has been 7 months now since all that, and I am doing fine. The week of internal was no picnic, but I made it trough,and if you get it, you will make it through too. I thought I would never have a normal bowel movement again, but that passes too. every thing is coming out OK now.LOL Good luck in whateveer you choose to do.
Unread 07-27-2003, 02:41 PM
Similar in breast radiation

I had 33 radiation treatments for DCIS. Though it is all external, the first 28 were aimed at the breast area in general. The last five, which were referred to as the "boost", were aimed at the tumor area only.

Mary D.
Unread 07-31-2003, 05:03 PM
Have the internal

Of all the treatments, I dreaded the internal the most. I knew I'd be in the hospital and unable to get out of bed for 3 days. But it really wasn't bad. I had a television and phone, I took movies and a laptop, lots of books and junky magazines, my husband brought me Starbuck's frappacinos, and the nurses were great. My thinking was this, if I didn't do the internal, and the cancer came back, I'd never forgive myself for not doing what the doctors had advised. Can you live with that? I also figured that I paid the docs for their expertise. If they think that an internal will help beat cancer, then I'll do it. Why take the risk?
Unread 07-31-2003, 08:54 PM
cervical cancer/internal radiation

Hi ya'll. i am new to the group and thank you for your support. it has been 2 years now since surgery due to stage 2 cervial cancer.i still have horrible nitemares about it. i had to have both external and internal radiation. it was humiating to me. i felt i lost my dignity. I still struggle with all the issues of loss of hormones and surgry itslelf.
cervical cancer
Unread 08-04-2003, 11:07 AM
to do internal radiation or not?

I have cervical cancer and also had 25 external radiation treatments. I'm scheduled for 4 internal treatments and had the first one last week. Instead of doing the radical hysterectomy as planned, the doctors just took the ovaries and tubes once they discovered the cancer had spread to the aortic lymph node.
I chose to go with the internal radiation because I want to know that every last cancer cell is gone. I was told it was unusual for a cervical cancer to spread upward, so I've been very worried about future cancer. But I've heard stories about people who did just fine by refusing certain treatments. I think if you are confident about your treatment, you will do just fine.

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