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Help; need advice

ZiaR
Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2006

My 72 healthy and strong mother is going in tomorrow for hysterectomy due to what docs are saying is very early stage of uterine cancer. They suspect radiation therapy afterwards "to be sure". But I have read that studies have shown that with Stage I uterine cancer, survival rates were higher in those who only had surgery, than to those with surgery and radiation. does this make sense? and can one explain brachytherapy for me? thankssss

m4favre
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2006

I am in my 30's and recently diagnosed w/ uterine cancer as well. I was not given an option of radiation and surgery prior to the surgery as they said they can't tell the stage til after.

However, if it is stage I and I opt for the surgery they said they would not do radiation due to the long term side effects. My brother-in-law who is a medical physicist and deals w/cancer treatment plans agrees that the benefits of radiation in my case would outway the risks.

I don't know what that means in your mothers case, but please investigate and ask further questions. I am still going for a second opinion due to all of the confusing info I received in my first appt.

Brachytherapy is where they put a radioactive seed inside you vs the external beam variety.

ZiaR
Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2006

Sorry for the late response, but I appreciate the info you sent me. I will knwo ore tomorrow when she goes back to speak with her doctor and to remove her staples.

tlva
Posts: 56
Joined: Nov 2005

Where are you getting your information from? There is so much junk on the net that you have to be sure that you are in good sites. They will not know her Stage til after surgery...do you mean Grade? They know the grade before surgery...the abnormality of the cell, but not the amount of cancer.

I have never heard of the info you reference. I had surgery and radiation because my stage...2B...called for it. Perhaps the study you read referenced women with higher stage cancer, who had surgery and radiation, but the cancer was too advanced to survive.
My brachytherapy invloved a tampon like device that was inserted for a short period of high dose radiation to the vagina. It was then connected to the machine that gave the radiation through the tube.
The vagina is the most likely place of recurrence for this type of cancer. The therapy was done as an adjuvant therapy to help decrease the chance of a recurrence.
Radiation is always based on each womans' pathology and her choice to have it. Age and health are also factors in those recommendations.
Check out the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center site. Hope this helps and that your mom is well!

ZiaR
Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2006

A late, but deserved thank you for your response to my message. All info is helpful. Tomorrow is her follow-up appt and well know more then. (Surgery went well). Thanks

MoeKay
Posts: 63
Joined: Feb 2004

Zia,

You might be looking at some of the studies that found no survival advantage for radiation after surgery for stage 1 endometrial cancer. However, a retrospective study that came out early this year by Gaffney et al. found that there is a statistically significant survival advantage to post-operative radiation for certain subgroups of stage 1 endometrial cancer patients. Here's a link discussing this recent study:

http://www.healthfinder.gov/news/newsstory.asp?docID=530546

These researchers speculate that the failure to find a survival advantage in some of the earlier studies may have been due to poor patient enrollment in the studies and design deficiencies that caused those studies to be underpowered, thus preventing them from being able to demonstrate a survival advantage. I had both internal and external radiation for stage 1c, grade 2, endometrial cancer in 1999. My gynecologic oncologist believed that both were necessary and warranted in my case.

Brachytherapy is internal radiation that is most often now given on an outpatient basis. I had my treatment seven years ago and had to have it as an in-patient. An applicator is inserted into the vaginal through which the radiation is administered. I understand the newer treatments are much easier than the type I had which required an overnight hospital stay in isolation. Perhaps someone who has had the newer type of brachytherapy for endometrial cancer will come along and provide you with additional information.

Best of luck to you and your mother. I hope she is under the care of an experienced gynecologic oncologist. They are the experts as far as gynecologic cancers are concerned.

MoeKay

ZiaR
Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2006

Thanks for the good points. Tomorrow is her follow-up appt. Her doc has done this for over 25 years....and is with a good group. It helps to hear your responses as well. Thank you!

groundeffect
Posts: 651
Joined: Mar 2003

I'm tuning into this a little late, but I certainly hope your mom's surgery went well, and that she was staged with the lowest possible 1!

I hope you'll come back and let us know how things are proceding. I've heard mixed reports from women who have had radiation; I was staged as 1B, and wasn't considered a candidate for radiation with that low stage.

ZiaR
Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2006

Thanks for your info. i will know more tomorrow when she goes in for a follow up. Surgery went well and she seems to be recovering well for now.

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