Immunity after Chemoradiation

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Hiya, 

I’ve not started my treatment yet but have been advised it’ll be Chemoradiation and brachyplasty for 5 weeks/3 days

How does this affect my immunity? We are a good couple of hours away from family who want to visit and help my husband during treatment but I’m not sure if I should be around people. I’ve heard chemo knocks immunity badly but focussed radiotherapy I’d heard isn’t so bad.

Any help and advice is greatly received 

  • Hi  and welcome to our group.

    Chemoradiation and brachytherapy is the standard treatment for stages of cervical cancer where surgery isn’t possible, so many of us have been through this protocol and should be able to help with any questions.

    It’s true that chemotherapy can knock your immune system, but it’s important to note that the main treatment for cervical cancer is radiotherapy, with the chemo given at a lower dose to enhance the effects of the radiotherapy. You would not lose your hair on Cisplatin for example.

    I think it’s sensible to take some precautions around others, for example people not visiting if they have flu or a cold, but you don’t need to avoid contact completely with others. It might be good to have visitors, and also have some family around to help you if you need it. I found I was very tired with radiotherapy, and suffered some side effects with my bladder and bowels from 3 weeks into treatment. I found it all very exhausting to be honest, so I did rest a lot between treatments and didn’t always feel up to having people around. Sometimes I had to simple go to bed and rest even if I had people round as I couldn’t keep my eyes open! 

    However, everyone’s reaction to treatment can be different, and you might not find you are tired or have any side effects at all. If you’d like any reassurance over your immune status during treatment you can check this with your CNS. My experience was I was fine to be around friends and family. Good luck with your treatment, and please let us know if you need to ask anything going forward.

    Sarah xx


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  • Thanks Sarah, that’s great info. It feels strange knowing there isn’t a standard set of side effects - I’m used to planning and fixing things so this is a little different.

    im

    sure I’ll find out soon enough but will talk to my CNS when I meet them on 2/4

  • When you sign consent for all your treatment you will get a list of potential side effects which can feel quite daunting. However, it would be very rare to suffer all of them and it’s just a case of you being able to give “informed consent”. So you need to know something MIGHT happen, but equally it might well not! 

    Some ladies sail through with little or no side effects, others are more badly effected. However, there is no way of knowing in advance how you might fare with things. For example chemo never made me nauseous at all, whereas other ladies did feel sick. Basically you just need to see how you go, but try not to anticipate having side effects just because you’ve read they are a possibility. 

    Sarah xx


    Community Champion Badge

    Cervical Cancer Forum

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm