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HDR Brachytherapy

mamado's picture
mamado
Posts: 13
Joined: Jul 2014

I am scheduled to start HDR Brachytherapy on Sept. 2, 2014.  My doctor has explained the precedure before the treatment begans.  My radiation oncologist says it doesn't take very long.  I went on a web site that said each treatment time will be about 3-4 hours because they have to get everything ready.  My gyno oncologist will be doing the surgery to place the sleeve in the cervix.  I was told that I will be transported from the hospital on a gurney to the cancer center radiation oncology department for the first treatment.  Someone told me you have to lay still for several hours so bring a cd player or ipod.  I am nervous about this phrase of treatment and would like to hear from those of you who went through it and how it was.

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2546
Joined: Mar 2013

I am not familiar with this procedure, I suspect some of the other lovely ladies are, but I would suggest calling the doctor's office and speaking with one of the nurses if the ipod is a possibility.  Music can take us to some place far away when we don't want to think about something.  Good luck.  Take a breathe. 

ccfighter
Posts: 476
Joined: Jan 2012

Hi mamado,

there are a few different types of bracytherapy.  I had high dose bracytherapy with a vaginal cylinder.  The set up takes the longest amount of time.  They place the cylinder and then do a ct scan to make sure it is placed properly.  Once everything is set, the treatment for high dose is only a few minutes.  It is painless.  Perhaps a three minute treatment.  Then, your fine, and go home.  I hope that helps.  Hugs.

ioanna
Posts: 43
Joined: Apr 2014

I had brachytherapy too, although I don't know what type. The first time it did hurt a lot (mainly the catheter). I was sedated st the beginning and then I had to be still for about an hour. Then the actual treatment lasted only five minutes. I was told to have someone with me during the waiting time, so my husband was there. Good luck!!

cindygodfrey2
Posts: 70
Joined: Mar 2012

I was with my daughter when she went for her brachytherapy.  She did have a sleeve inserted by her gyn onc.  Then on treatment days, they would put her to sleep to insert the rods into her cervix and did a scan.  Then she would wake up but have to lay flat for about 3 to 4 hours while the docs came up with a precise treatment for the high dose radiation that day.  Once they were ready for her,  the treatment was about 3 minutes then she would wake up and go home.  Hope this helps, prayers for you. 

mamado's picture
mamado
Posts: 13
Joined: Jul 2014

The doctor did say I would be sedated and would need someone to drive me home after each treatment. I was told 3-4 hours from the time I get there until they are finished.  Said the treatment is only a matter of minutes.  Just wondering about pain from the treatment.  The treatment your daughter had sounds like what I will have, because they mentioned rods into the cervix.  Did she have many side effects from this treatment?  I told them they for sure have to sedate me, because laying still for that long wouldn't work.  The reason I am wondering about pain is because my doctor said they will be giving me morphine.

cindygodfrey2
Posts: 70
Joined: Mar 2012

I am so sorry i was not able to respond to you sooner.  I hope today went well for you!  After the procedure was over, my daughter was fine.  The side effects were sleepiness for her.  i think external was what made her more nauseous.  Longterm side effects are unknown to her right now.  The very best to you!

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1928
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Mamado:

I hope all went well for you on your treatment day.  I think the difference between the HDR Brachytherapies is whether or not you had a hysterectomy.   When someone has a hysterectomy, the rod can only go to the vagainal cuff.  But from what you said, they will be placing sleeves or rods into your cervix.  So I assume you still have your urteris?   If so, then that is probably the difference in the treatment regimine.   

Any way, I hope all is well with you.   My best to you.

Kathy

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2546
Joined: Mar 2013

Mamado, how are you doing??

mamado's picture
mamado
Posts: 13
Joined: Jul 2014

I finished treatment for stage 3 cervical cancer on Sept 30. Sorry I have not updated since my last post.   Had another PET scan January of this year and I see oncologist every 3 or 4 months.  Still have chemo port in, which I get flushed every six weeks.  So far no sign of cervical cancer.  I am scheduled to see oncologist June 4th.  This past week I have been having blood in my stools.  I have talked to other women who went through treatment and most say it is probably radiation damage.  I will have doctor check on the 4th.  I know many women have told me that radiation is the gift that keeps on giving.  Some women have years of side effects and serious ones.  It makes me a bit angry when I think of the radiation oncologist brushing off my concerns about radiation damage and side effects from it.  I told him that I had been on cancer support web sites and chatted online with other women, who said they suffered radiation side effects and damage.  The radiation oncologist told me that all those women didn't have anything better to do than to get online and whine about things.  I told the radiaton oncologist to be straight with me, and he said only a very small percentage of women have side effects from radiation and even fewer suffer from radiation damage.  I don't believe that is true anymore.  I just hope that it is something simply causing the blood in my stools.  I hate going to doctors as it is.  I will try and post after I see my gyn oncologist in June. 

ccfighter
Posts: 476
Joined: Jan 2012

Mamado,

 

congratulations on on finishing treatment.  I'm glad your scans have been clear and hope that continues forever.  I'm sorry you are dealing with the blood in the stools issue.  It is true that many women experience damage from pelvic radiation.  I'm sorry that your radiation oncologist doesn't take that more seriously.  I hope your issue resolves quickly and is nothing more that an annoying hemroid bothering you.  Hugs.

mamado's picture
mamado
Posts: 13
Joined: Jul 2014

Went to oncologist today for three months check up.  Doctor said there is no sign of hemorroids so he wants me to have a colonoscopy to find out what caused the rectal bleeding.  Happened three different days,  and just one time on those days.  Doctor said since the blood is bright red, it is probably coming from the colon.  Doctor feels it could be radiation damage, but wants to make sure.  I am not looking forward to a colonoscopy but do want to know what the problem is and work on correcting it.  So far no sign of cervical cancer returning, so that is good news.

ccfighter
Posts: 476
Joined: Jan 2012

Yea for no signs of cancer!  That is great news!  I'm sorry you are dealing with continual worry of blood in your stool.  I know colonoscopies are no fun but I hope it provides you with some answers.  I think the prep is the worst part and the actual procedure is pretty easy.  I have never had one.  Good luck with it.  Let us know how it goes.  In the mean time CELEBRATE!  Hugs.

mamado's picture
mamado
Posts: 13
Joined: Jul 2014

Doctor said that I have radiation colitis.  He said it was from the radiation.  I told him though, I don't have problems with constipation or diarrhea.  I seldom have blood in my stool now..  I told the doctor that maybe twice a week I will pass clots of blood.  He said he felt that it would get better and he didn't want to do anything yet for it.  I don't have pain or anything else, just passing clots of blood a couple times a week.  I told the doctor I never know when it might happen though.  He said I am not anemic and if it is only a couple times a week he felt that I could live with it.  How nice!  He told me if it gets worse than he would do something.  Now what is funny is he told me to eat a high fiber diet.  I see online it says to eat a low fiber diet.  I think I will just get some glutamine and other supplements and see how that helps.  I have heard that radiation is the gift that keeps on giving.

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1928
Joined: Nov 2009

I had HDR Brachytherapy in August of 2006.   During 2014, I had a lot of symptoms that they coudnt find an answer for until I had a scan which showed I had hydroureternephrosis.   I developed a blockage in my ureter near my bladder.  The urologist said this was from the radiation (HDR Brachytherapy).   So I had to have a stent placed to protect my kidney since it was starting to have decreased function.   Since August of 2014, I have had 5 stent replacements and will continue every 3-4 months to have them replace until I have major surgery.

So you are right, it is the gift that keeps on giving.

My best to you.

Kathy

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2546
Joined: Mar 2013

I am always so inspired by the women on these gynecologic cancer boards.  People have no idea what we, or any cancer patient, goes through or what the side effects of all the treatments are. 

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1928
Joined: Nov 2009

You are so right.   The personal suffering of issues we don't want to bother loved ones with because they may seem petty problems but in reality to us they are important and concerning.   Sometimes even doctors brush off symptoms we may be having.   But we all just chug along, dont we.   We put ourselves back together and keep on going!

Sending you hugs.

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Kathy

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