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To have or not to have brachytheraphy

Royce1
Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2012

Hello everyone! I've been visiting this site for a while and finally decided to join. You ladies have really helped me a lot. My Mom was diagnosed with UPSC, stage 1A back in December and is finishing her last treatment on Friday, thank God! Our concern is the next step, which her oncologist wants to be brachytheraphy. We haven't consulted with a radiation oncologist yet, but boht my Mom and I are concerned about whether or not her body can withstand this treatment and how do we know this will prevent the cancer from returning. I know that UPSC has a high rate of recurrance, usally at distant places but my Mom has been through so many health problems since the chemo like she acquired blood clots in her lung, so she's on blood thinners until October. She also has Chronic Kidney Disease so it's a blessing her kidneys have held up this long. I would really love some input from all the UPSC surviors on brachytherapy. Did anyone not have the treatments? Please share your thoughts!

debrajo's picture
debrajo
Posts: 770
Joined: Sep 2011

Hey Royce, I am a 1a c with UPSC. I had the five rounds of radiation(brachytherapy)before and during chemo(6 rounds taxol/carboplatin). I understand your concern and it is a juggling act, but I am diabetic, hypertensive, thyroid trouble, and 8 weeks before the hysterectomy I had open-heart surgery to replace the aortic valve that was defective from birth, then I got an e-coli infection in my blood. The radiation was a breeze for me...no problems or symptoms good or bad. Almost like it never happened. I know everyone is quite different, but for me, with the aggression of the UPSC, not having the rad. was not an option! The dr.s told me it gave me, instead of a 50/50 chance of non-recurrence to a 30/70 percent of non-occurrence. If you start them, you can always stop them or post-pone then so your Mama can heal. Let me know if I can help. Best, debrajo

Royce1
Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2012

Debrajo,
Thanks for your advice. I know what you mean about having the radiation was not an option, I agree I just don't want it to cause her any more health problems than she already has now. You seem like a strong person. I applaud you for your courage! Best wishes to you!

bots's picture
bots
Posts: 53
Joined: Sep 2009

First of all, I want to wish your mother the best.

I had my last treatment for UPSC stage 1A two and one-half years ago. So far, no signs of recurrence. I did not have the brachy--not because of any conscious decision on my part, but because my gyn oncologist did not suggest it. When he retired and my new oncologist came on board, she asked me if it had ever been mentioned and seemed surprised that it hadn't. I also only had three treatment of chemo. That was because I developed neuropathy, but I was only scheduled for four treatments rather than the standard six. The only explanation I can see for both of these decisions on my original oncologist's part is that I had 38 lymph nodes removed and they were all clear, as was the wash, etc.

I don't know whether this helps, but if it were me, I would definitely share my concerns with both the oncologist and the radiologist. They can help you weigh the risks and also their thinking on the matter.

Royce1
Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2012

Bots,

My Mom had her lymph nodes removed as well and they were all clear also. I think you're right, we'll discuss our concerns with the radiation oncologist when we meet with him. We've already talked to her gynocologist about her concerns and she said she wanted to make sure we've done everything we can because UPSC sometimes recurs in distant places like the lungs. This is such scary stuff! I'm happy you're doing good! Contine enjoying your NED! BTW the pic of your pets is so cute!

cheerful
Posts: 122
Joined: Apr 2011

Hi Royce:

I was diagnosed with UPSC in February of 2011 and went through 6 rounds of chemo - carboplatin and taxol which is the standard treatment and I also had 3 rounds of brachytherapy as my oncologist highly recommended these treatments. I have Stage 1 of UPSC.

My oncologist knows a lot about UPSC and is very well known locally and nationally and was mentioned as one of the top 20 doctors in the US News & World Report magazine so that is quite an accomplishment and a wonderful feat for him.

I live outside of the Phila., PA suburbs and my oncologist has an office about 10 minutes from my house so it is great that he was very close as my gynecologist who did my hysterectomy recommended my oncologist as he knows him very well. I found out that right after my surgery I was diagnosed with cancer, and then a couple of weeks later I found out it was UPSC. I never heard of this cancer at all, and after my oncologist explained this particular type of cancer, I went home on the Internet and started reading information about UPSC. I know a lot of the information on the Internet about UPSC is outdated.
But I have read more current information as well on the Internet about UPSC.

As for your Mom, I would definitely tell her to have the brachytherapy done.
The brachytherapy first session usually is the longest session about 2 hours as they do measurements, etc and the next two treatments are much shorter - your Mom should not be in there for more than a half an hour. They schedule the appts about a week apart so your Mom should be done in a 3 week time frame providing she has three treatments. Obviously, if your Mom's oncologist recommends more brachytherapy treatments, then it will take longer. I had all of my treatments chemo and radiation done at the Cancer Center which is connected to the main hospital in my area.

So far, I have had a complete round of tests done after my cancer this year and it shows no evidence of disease which is really great news and I just hope it remains that way. I have changed my diet and eating habits for the better I feel. I also lost about 25 lbs since I had the hysterectomy and chemo treatments.

I wish your Mom well in the remainder of her cancer treatments. I know how she feels about ending the chemo treatments as I was so very happy when my chemo ended the end of August of last year - it was an elated feeling and I felt very happy. Going through chemo is a very tiring experience, and I know I did not have much of an appetite the first few days after each of my chemo treatments, but I feel that the chemo treatments definitely saved my life and that they got rid of any remaining cancer cells.

Royce1
Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2012

Cheerful,
Congratulations on having NED! I really want my Mom to have the brachytherapy because I want her to leave no stone unturned in fighting this awful disease! I just don't want her to have anymore complications. With her having Chronic Kidney Disease and some bladder problems, I'm afraid the radiation may trigger a problem there. But, I guess if the benefits outweigh the risks, then she should do it and I want my Mom around for a long time! We'll see what the Radiation Oncologist recommends. Blessings to you and continue enjoying life! Thanks so much for your input.

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