• Advice to prepare both physically and mental for brachytherapy

    Asked by Paintbrush on Monday, May 18, 2015

    Advice to prepare both physically and mental for brachytherapy

    I am nearing the end of my chemo treatments and am scheduled to have 3 rounds of vaginal brachytherapy. I would be grateful to hear advice from those who had gone through this treatment on how to prepare for the procedure and minimize any potential side effects. Thanks!

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • IronMom45's Avatar
      IronMom45

      I had 5 rounds of brachy. Last one was on dec 23, 2014. I was so apprehensive. Turns out was the easiest part of this whole trip. I went in, laid on table. They do "fitting" of probe smallest to largest to fit into vagina. It's to your comfort level. After that they ct scan on same table of it's position. Ct table comes back out then they hook up the probe to radiation source next to table. You basically laying in frog leg style on table for 3-5 minutes. They leave room but can see you through window. I was covered up after positioning with blanket. Room cold so wear upper sweater. Felt nothing during or after. They come back after tx remove probe. Run Geiger counter over you. Reason for that is in the older days of brachy was to make sure no radiation source left behind. Now with newer brachy probes don't see that as a problem but they still do it. After all your tx completed you need to use a dilator to prevent vaginal stenosis or narrowing of the vagina. Just had my 5 month later gyn check up. No stenosis, no pain and no issues. Hope yours goes as well.

      about 5 years ago
    • pminct's Avatar
      pminct

      I had my first one last week - same as above, but didn't have any CT scan - was 4.5 minutes, but was told the next one will be longer - up to 12 minutes. I guess the radiation source starts to run low, so as it does, the treatment gets a bit longer. I was very tired afterwards, but think it may have been more of a mental tiredness than from treatment. I go again tomorrow. I worried so much about it, but it wasn't bad at all.

      about 5 years ago
    • IronMom45's Avatar
      IronMom45

      I agree with the fatigue but that's so normal for me I forget to mention it. But no burning etc that I felt with external radiation. I had a ct for positioning every time and the max was 5 minutes but they did say was based on the age of the radiation source. So think it just changes from place to place. Also agree I did a lot of worrying but turned out ok.

      about 5 years ago
    • judyinflorida's Avatar
      judyinflorida

      I had three rounds and didn't have any pain or feeling whatsoever. Previously I had external radiation and had a lot of diarrhea, but since I didn't have JUST brachy, I don't know if that could be a side effect or not. They said I didn't need a dilator because I am no longer sexually active (my husband has parkinsons). That's a little too much information that I don't normally share, but it sometimes has a bearing on followup. After chemo I found radiation to be easier.

      about 5 years ago
    • created's Avatar
      created

      I also had three rounds of brachy. The embarrassment was the worst part, so a good sense of humor really helps. It was uncomfortable, but not painful. I was told to drink a lot of water(and did). I also had a CAT scan each time to make sure it was going to the right spot.

      about 5 years ago
    • Paintbrush's Avatar
      Paintbrush

      Thank you all for sharing your experiences with me. I am getting through the chemo part of the treatment like a trooper despite its rough patches. Sounds like the radiation part of this treatment plan will be much easier. I am looking forward to being completely done with treatment by the end of July.

      about 5 years ago
    • IronMom45's Avatar
      IronMom45

      I was told empty bladder for brachy, full bladder for external but sure they will tell you as each place appears different. I didn't tolerate external well but brachy like the others said good sense of humor and not physically painful. Good luck and hope all goes well for you.

      about 5 years ago
    • Asanayogini's Avatar
      Asanayogini

      No brachytherapy is not painful jut a bit uncomfortable, after they placed the balloons in the vagina, I had to lay still for 2 hours till the computer calculated where the radiation to go that was the hardest part lying still. I also had a lot of burning of rectum and vaginal area, be prepared to get medicine and pain killers .

      about 5 years ago
    • pminct's Avatar
      pminct

      Seems like there may be different types of vaginal brachytherapy, as I never had a CT for it, no balloons, etc. Just tested size of the unit to release the radiation (took all of 5 minutes), then next visit they started. Today's treatment was a little bit longer than last week's, but not painful.

      about 5 years ago
    • IronMom45's Avatar
      IronMom45

      Yes believe uterine and cervical cancer brachy is different by what I was told at my radiologist. I believe cervical does take more time and carries more side effects. I'm sorry this is so.

      about 5 years ago

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