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Radiation treatment

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2010

I am so glad I find this site, it is great. I havd endometiral cancer, had surgery end of oct. had a total hyster and the massive tumor removed. Had one the best doctors in this area and she told me she got all the cancer. I had just finished my second chemo treatment and will need one more before radiation. I am having trouble with the radiation end of it, it was first just to be external radiation and now the doctor (that is doing the treatment) also wants me to have internal and I am not comfortable with that. She says it is better to have both. But that just seems like alot of radiation to me and the tumor was totally removed. I know it is up to me if I want the treatment, but than I am afraid that if I dont have it something bad will happen to me. A little stupid I know.
Has anyone else had this treatment and can you give me any advice on what it will be like and wheather it is right or not. I know you can not tell m e what to do all I am asking for is some insight.
Thank you so very much

kansasgal's picture
Posts: 125
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Trish!

You may find it more useful to post your questions on the Uterine Cancer board instead of the Gynecological Cancers (other than ovarian and uterine) board. Most of us posting on the Uterine Cancer board were diagnosed with some type of endometrial cancer (some were diagnosed with more than one type) and many of us have had brachytherapy and/or whole pelvic/abdominal radiation. Just post a new topic calling it something like “Questions About Radiation” and ask members what they have done. When you post there, it is helpful if you include the type, stage, and grade of your cancer and include the treatment you have undergone so far.

I, for example, was diagnosed in April 2009 with stage 1b grade 2 adenocarcinoma of the endometrium following a complete abdominal hysterectomy. My gynecological oncologist told me no further treatment was needed. In May 2009 I was diagnosed ADDITIONALLY with stage 1a grade 3 UPSC (uterine papillary serous carcinoma) following a review of my hysterectomy slides. At that point my gyn/onc recommended 6 rounds of chemotherapy with a combination of Taxol and Carboplatin. I traveled to another state for a second opinion. The second gyn/onc recommended 3 rounds of chemo plus 3 rounds of brachytherapy (internal radiation to the vaginal cuff).

After meeting with a radiological oncologist, I decided to begin 6 rounds of chemo coupled with 3 rounds of brachytherapy. I completed this treatment in October of 2009. I have had 1 abdominal CT scan and 2 check-ups with my gyn/onc since then and currently have no evidence of disease. I will have another CT scan in late March or early April.

Hope this helps you with your decision.

A big hug from Sally

beckyracn's picture
Posts: 324
Joined: May 2009

Hi Trish,
I had 33 rounds external radiation and 5 internal + 10 chemo. Yes, I think I glow in the dark! Each doctor differs in their treatment regimn just as each woman responds to the radiation differently. The are several different ways that brachytherapy is done...depending on doctor.
For me, it involved having surgical placement of a device on my cervix first. Then I would go into the treatment room and have numerous tubes placed, moved to another table by several people, and then the rest of the devices/tubes were placed. Then pics were taken to make sure everything was in place properly. It takes longer for the setup of treatment than it does for the actual treatment. The staff where I went was WONDERFUL and I got to listen to whatever music I chose. I was able to have friend/family with me right up until the treatment started. Then it's over...they remove everything and off you go. The only stipulation was I could not eat before treatments and could have clear fluids up to 4 hours prior. And I could not have internal and external treatments on the same day. Oh, and they did not tell me until internal treatments were over that I would have to use a dilator (or have intercourse) regularly to keep the scar tissue at bay. That stuff grows like wildfire!
I wish you luck on your journey. I know that making decisions at this point in time can be very scary and confusing at the same time. I didn't even question my treatment protocol, because I went into surgery with a diagnosis of IIB cervical and came out with IVA diagnosis and still with all my guts. The CA had spread to my pelvic/abdominal lymph nodes and attached to the bladder, so they couldn't do the surgery. I am 16 months post treatment and still in remission!

Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Becky,

My mom is 67 and just had the internal radiation (after undergoing external and chemo) If you don't mind me asking, did you have a lot of nausea/diarrhea afterwards? It's been a month now since my mom finished the internal and she feels horrible, has been in and out of the hospital for dehydration, blood transfusion (due to low rbc count) When did you start to recover? Any input is appreciated. I'm looking for any answers I can get at this point. My mom is too weak to use a computer and frankly she feels very defeated.
mary beth

beckyracn's picture
Posts: 324
Joined: May 2009

Mary Beth,
I am so sorry to hear that your mom is having such a difficult time and I can totally understand her feelings of defeat. What she's going through is not unusual. I had a lot of nausea/constipation afterwards. Actually, about two months out of treatment I started experiencing nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain that was much worse than during treatments. They did every test imaginable and made an educated guess that I was experiencing intermittent partial small bowel obstructions and sections of my colon were still paralyzed from the radiation. They also attribute it to scar tissue, adhesions, and numerous surgical clips. Things have gotten better, but not 100%. I've learned to live with my "new normal"...doesn't mean I like it. There are good days and bad days...I carry my Zofran with me everywhere; even though it doesn't always work.
It took almost a year to really start getting over the fatigue. I still tire much easier than I used to and have learned my limits.
The first step in healing for me was to understand my limits and then fight back. I am not the type to sit back and let anything defeat me.
It's a hard road to travel, but you need to convince your mom to take small steps. Increase her activity a little bit each day. Eat and drink small amounts throughout the day. And most important, keep a positive attitude.
Keep posting to let us know how she is doing and if possible, get her here. This is a great place for support and understanding!

kansasgal's picture
Posts: 125
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi again, Trish!

Another way you can find information on radiation for endometrial cancer:

When you are LOGGED IN and at the Uterine Cancer board, use the SEARCH BOX in the upper right above the list of posted topics. I would suggest first searching for RADIATION. After you finish reading the relevant posts, search again, but this time use the term BRACHY (rather than brachytherapy since some posters use the short form and some use it as two separate words).

These two searches should provide you with quite a bit of information on the types of radiation treatment members diagnosed at various stages of different types of endometrial cancer have undergone and their bodies' physical responses to the treatments. Also you will find posts in which members were trying to decide on possible courses of treatment and posts describing problems (or lack of problems) with the types of radiation therapy.

I, too, use a vaginal dilator almost daily. It was given to me by my radiological oncologist at my final brachytherapy session.

At my stage (1a UPSC endometrial and 1b endometrioid endometrial) whole abdomen or whole pelvis radiation (25 or more rounds of external beam radiation) is usually not recommended. This treatment, however, is often recommended for women at stages 3 & 4. I am less familiar with stage 2 treatment recommendations.

It's so hard to know what to do with so many important decisions to make in such a short span of time. Good luck in choosing a treatment plan which seems correct for your particular situation.


Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2010

Just wondering if others have tightness, bloating, cramping in the abdominal region even a couple of months after treatment for endometial. It seems as if this stuff should be going away. But what do I know?

Posts: 572
Joined: Oct 2009

Doesn't sound like normal post chemo/radiation. Call your oncologist/gynecologist and let the nurse know your symptoms. May also want to call radiologist/oncologist. Something isn't right. Don't wait!

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