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Questions on Side Effects from Brachytherapy-

npl8261
Posts: 33
Joined: Jun 2009

I am finishing up my last round of Chemo next week and the plan is that within 3 weeks I will start External Radiation for 5 weeks. What got added to my treatment plan yesterday was a few sessions of Brachytherapy. Has anyone had this and what type of side effects did you encounter? Also, what type of side effects did any of you get from the External Radiation. My doctor has explained some of what to expect but I am curiuos to hear what others that are going through say.

Thank you

Pat from MN
Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2009

I had 4 sessions of brachy and there were no side effects. I was told before I started that there probably wouldn't be any. As for the exteral radiation, the only side effect I had was diarrhea. I know that there are other side effects that some people have but I was lucky to only have that. Good luck with radiation!

Pat

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I had 28 external IMRT pelvic rads that ended June 9th, followed by 3 internal brachys that ended July 1st. I had some diarrhea with the external pelvic, but as long as I stayed on the low-fiber diet during that time period, it never got so bad that I had to stay home or anything. I think I took 2 Immodiums over the entire 28 external treatments. I never had any nausea, although my appetite was off. (But I took advantage of that lowered appetite to not eat in the evening hours and to drop a few of the pounds I'd put on over chemo).

I had NO side effects from the brachy, no burning or pain, and was able to even have sex between treatments as long as we took it easy, with no bleeding or pain. I am using the dilator they gave me every day that I am not sexually active, because I don't want any problems later with scar tissue. I was worried about that aspect, for nothing as it turns out.

Songflower's picture
Songflower
Posts: 631
Joined: Apr 2009

does anyone know what criter ia they use to determine if you need IMRT or external pelvic radiation? I'm getting last chemo this week. Trying to figure all this out.

Christine W
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2010

I am trying now to get second opinion. My Radiation Oncologist want to do the 3D full pelvic radiation and I am very concerned about long term side effects. I am getting advice from someone in Radiology field to look into IMRT to protect my vital organs and reduce side effects. Question is: 3D to ensure no tumor cells are missed vs IMRT to protect healthy tissue???

pacarini
Posts: 6
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi Linda,

What an inspiration you are. I have been reading a lot of your posts. I'm so nervous about the bracytherapy. I think I'm reading too much on the Internet about it. I'm debating whether or not to do it. My doctor said it was optional...as preventive. How long ago did you have your treatment and any long term side effects? This is all so new to me. I had a hysterectomy two weeks ago so I still have a few weeks to make my decision.

pacarini
Posts: 6
Joined: Jun 2010

Any long term side effects from your brachytherapy treatment?

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

IMRT is a computer-controlled type of external radiation that can be used most anywhere on the body, including pelvic radiation. With IMRT, they use a special positioning CT-scan to design a computer-controlled path for the radiation, that backs off the radiation as it travels over uninvolved tissue and bones as it moves 360-degrees around your body. Originally it was used for very fine work like on the face where the damage to surrounding tissue would be horrible. Now, hospitals that have several of these machines use it for external radiation almost anywhere on the body. I read horror stories about the more conventional external pelvic radiation and was soooooo relieved that my oncologist recommended and used IMRT for me. I had only mild diahrea as a side effect, and that ended as soon as my external pelvic radiation was over. If you use the SEARCH box and put in "IMRT vs" I think you'll find a post where I posted a new study comparing the 2 types of external radiation.

If you didn't have any lymph node involvement or cancer cells in the 'wash', you may be able to skip extrenal pelvic radiation and just do brachy radiation (internal vaginal). I had NO problems with that, although I do now use a vaginal dilator every morning for 10 minutes to make sure things stay that way.

Songflower's picture
Songflower
Posts: 631
Joined: Apr 2009

Does anyone know if women have problems with orgasms after pelvic radiation?

deanna14
Posts: 743
Joined: Oct 2008

The pelvic radiation has not hindered me in this area.

aprillorey's picture
aprillorey
Posts: 104
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi i will have the same type radition my 1st round starts June 23rd 11 AM bright and Early im told ill have a pee bag in not sure what your doctor said for you not sure about the side affects but had to post to tell u your not alone im geting ready to do it my self good luck and many prayers your way god bless

TiggersDoBounce's picture
TiggersDoBounce
Posts: 413
Joined: Oct 2009

April,

Are you saying you need to have a catheter put in for your Brachytherapy???

I never had that (thank goodness)...anyone else?

Laurie

pacarini
Posts: 6
Joined: Jun 2010

What is your stage/grade? How many treatments will you get?

pacarini
Posts: 6
Joined: Jun 2010

Did you have your treatment? How are you feeling?

Janabeth
Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2010

If you read enough gynecologic oncology texts and radiation oncology texts and enough pub med articles, you come to realize that any number of blood vessels have been damaged or obliterated by radiation and surgery and any unknow number of pelvic nerves have been cut or have lost blood supply. You probably know that during sex the pelvis becomes engorged with blood, called vasocongestion, before orgasm occurs. It is likely that radiation affects the blood supply in the pelvis. Hence it is likely that changes in orgasm will occur. Because orgasm is developed by the brain as well as the body, no one call tell exactly what amount of change is caused by psychological factors or what amount is caused by physical changes to the pelvis.

In the process leading to orgasm, women lubricate. Their vaginas become wet as the blood vessels along the vagina "sweat." This is similar to men's penises becoming erect because they fill will blood and become firm. Many women can sense the blood filling in their genitals. This arousal response is linked to lubrication. Unfortunately, the cancer survivors literature makes this loss sound minimal by calling it "dryness." Men with prostate cancer are treated with Viagra and other measures. Women, unfortunately, are left with mainly tubes of KY and the like. Undoubtably, the loss of the arousal sense affects the ability to climax to some degree.

Songflower's picture
Songflower
Posts: 631
Joined: Apr 2009

good information. Also, if you are taking an antidepressant that can cause delayed orgasm. Lyrica and meds for neuropathy sometimes have that affect too.

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

When you said "delayed orgasm", all I could think was, hours later, you're sitting at your office, when out of the blue, BAM!

HAHAHAHHA!

I'm leaving in a half-hour to go with the grandkids to see "Toy Story" in 3-D. Hope I don't have a delayed reaction there in the theatre!

;D

aprillorey's picture
aprillorey
Posts: 104
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi yes i had my radition sorry i just now loged on i just got done with my 3rd one today it all went well i read alot in to it on the internet i to was fraked out but it wasnt nothing turly the only side affacts i have was i felt sick to my tummy like i would throw up but never did that only last maybe a day or so or 2 and then darria i also had cramping like i did with periods

it was discomfort when the thing is inside of you but so far so good it wasnt as bad as the internet made it seem

im doing grate :)

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