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clear vaginal discharge after external pelvic radiation - normal?

zsazsa1
Posts: 347
Joined: Oct 2018

I finished external beam pelvic radiation which included the vagina (no brachy) about 5 months ago.  I'm feeling MUCH better.  Bowel function is greatly improved.  My Gyn-Onc did a careful look-see internal exam about 3 weeks ago, said everything is fine.  My Ca-125 is finally under ten (barely) for the first time since I was diagnosed.  And I'm finally beginning to consider the possibility that maybe I won't have a recurrence.

However.... I am having increasing amounts of clear vaginal discharge.  Not enough to need to wear a pad, but it's definitely increasing.  The GYN says that the vagina looks like it was irradiated, and that there is an area with some slight damage, that may be the source of the discharge.  But it's so hard for me not to worry, especially since this was the symptom that I was told was nothing, but was actually UPSC.

Has anyone had clear vaginal discharge after brachytherapy or external beam vaginal radiation?

LisaPizza's picture
LisaPizza
Posts: 232
Joined: Feb 2018

I thought I  remembered someone asking a similar question, so I'm surpised you've no responses, but maybe not. I had the clear discharge before diagnosis, but not after (I also had external and no brachy).

zsazsa1
Posts: 347
Joined: Oct 2018

Yes, I recall there was someone a few months ago with the same - never heard the outcome.  I had Herceptin today, and I think it's stopped since then, which is a little unsettling.  I made an appointment to get checked on Thursday.

zsazsa1
Posts: 347
Joined: Oct 2018

The Gyn/Onc did an extremely thorough exam today, says there is NOTHING suspicious there.  Reassuring.

suzycruise76's picture
suzycruise76
Posts: 98
Joined: Mar 2019

so good to hear that!

Suzy

Forherself's picture
Forherself
Posts: 234
Joined: Jan 2019

Ever vigilant.  

SF73
Posts: 276
Joined: Oct 2017

Great news about your CA125 also. Thanks for the update.

Northwoodsgirl
Posts: 547
Joined: Oct 2009

I recall that there was a posting this past spring I think about vaginal discharge clear to pinkish months after radiation. It turned out to be part of this person’s healing process. This individual also was just resuming being sexually active also. Best thing to do is exactly what you did- get it checked out and ask others on this forum. Glad it is nothing more to worry about. 

Lori

zsazsa1
Posts: 347
Joined: Oct 2018

Thanks, Northwoods.  I feel like I'm on a rollercoaster.  I just get to the point of thinking that maybe everything is going to be okay, and then something new comes up that makes me worry about the possibility of a recurrence. 

zsazsa1
Posts: 347
Joined: Oct 2018

I called the Gyn-Onc and requested for an appointment to do punch biopsies of the vaginal cuff.  It's scheduled for next week.  The clear watery serous discharge continues, and it is exactly the same as the discharge I had for a year, that was from the UPSC/clear cell cancer.  I just cannot ignore it this time, despite the reassurance of no visible recurrence on physical exam.

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Kaleena
Posts: 1978
Joined: Nov 2009

It's good you are vigilant in your care.  I found all of my recurrences.  I knew how I felt even though the scans were acceptable Or borderline.    You know your body.  its Good you are getting it checked

my best to you

kathy

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Forherself
Posts: 234
Joined: Jan 2019

I wonder how long the punch biopsly will take to heal in tissue that has been irradiated twice.   And will a punch biopsy work when there is not a target.   Do they ever do washings for biopsy.  It seems like they could.  Stain it for mutations.   Just a few questions.   Since it is so rare.  

zsazsa1
Posts: 347
Joined: Oct 2018

I was wondering about this too.  I never had brachy - just external beam.  I have always been suspicious that it didn't hit the vagina, since I had no vaginal symptoms during radiation, but HORRIBLE bowel symptoms. But yes, I wonder if it would be slow to heal at the punch sites.

I've asked about a pap of the cuff, but I've read and been told that they don't, because it just would show atypia no matter what.

The discharge is exactly the same as the one I had from the malignancy, so it's very hard for me to just ignore it.

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Forherself
Posts: 234
Joined: Jan 2019

Yes, they are VERY hard decisions.   But I was thinking the area was radiated twice, and it wasn't so that is better.  I agree you shouldn't ignore it, and remember how hard the decision was about brachytherapy.  Now it helps.  I think the punch will heal much better 

Denise66
Posts: 58
Joined: Aug 2018

I had lots of vaginal discharge 6 weeks after Brachy is when it started. It lasted for over for 8 months. It was a very light yellow color.  I sought a second opinion at Mayo and was told it was because of the Brachy. I was told there is lots of healing after Brachy and the discharge was a product of the healing. This is off topic but survivors should know this. I asked about Metformin. The Mayo doc told me thway usually don’t prescribe it for my stage, 1b. However, because I was educated she would give it to me. She said “low risk, big benefit”. I’m very upset that women who are not as informed are not being prescribed this medication to reduce their risk.  

zsazsa1
Posts: 347
Joined: Oct 2018

I tried to take metformin before the radiation, I think maybe even before chemo.  Had really bad diarrhea from it.  I'm under the impression that thus far, it has not been proven to be efficacious.  Also, I don't know if data has been separated out for endometrioid vs serous vs clear cell.

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Armywife
Posts: 320
Joined: Feb 2018

I learned about Metformin from this site (Takingcontrol) and then discovered that my second opinion gyn/onc at MD Anderson had studied it.  I asked my gyn/onc for it, and she said since I wasn't diabetic she couldn't prescribe it.  I went to my primary care doc and he had never heard of that use, but he's been taking it for 20 years for diabetes.  He did some research, called me back the next day and prescribed it.  He said I could expect a little diarrhea and possibly a 5-pound weight loss, but that there was one formulation that didn't cause diarrhea as much and that's what he prescribed me.  I've been on it for six months now and have actually struggled with constipation more!  I hope it works.  Since chemo, I've been prescribed nothing else, and at least I feel like I'm doing something..

zsazsa1
Posts: 347
Joined: Oct 2018

I had 4 punch/clip biopsies done from the vaginal cuff, even though she couldn't see anything to biopsy.  Friends and family are asking how long I have to wait for results, as if I'm waiting with bated breath, when actually, now that it's done, I've just stopped thinking about it.  I'll deal with it when I get the results.  Radiologist said MRI abdomen/pelvis just as appropriate as CT for recurrence surveillance, so onc is ordering it, and hopefully insurance won't fight it.

Forherself's picture
Forherself
Posts: 234
Joined: Jan 2019

And the MRI does not give you more radiation I believe.   Insurance should pay based on your previous treatment and exposure to radiation.   

 

zsazsa1
Posts: 347
Joined: Oct 2018

All four biopsies from vaginal cuff were normal!  Hooray!  I am reassured about this discharge.

LisaPizza's picture
LisaPizza
Posts: 232
Joined: Feb 2018

Awesome!

Fridays Child
Posts: 75
Joined: Jul 2019

Thanks for the update!

suzycruise76's picture
suzycruise76
Posts: 98
Joined: Mar 2019

enjoy your worryfree days now! Congratulations!!! Laughing

zsazsa1
Posts: 347
Joined: Oct 2018

I'm just gonna assume that the MRIs are gonna be normal.  I'm planning another trip!  I get the feeling that this is how life is going to be for the next couple of years (I hope).  Have a good checkup, plan another trip.  Repeat.

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suzycruise76
Posts: 98
Joined: Mar 2019

I love your planning-way to go!

Forherself's picture
Forherself
Posts: 234
Joined: Jan 2019

HOORAY.   

 

zsazsa1
Posts: 347
Joined: Oct 2018

And the MRI was read as no evidence of recurrence.  So I'm just going to try not to worry about this discharge, and go ahead with travel planning.  I feel as if I'm gonna be living my life in 6 month chunks for the next couple of years.

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