brachytherapy

Good morning all. I am due to start brachytherapy soon and just wondering how people have got on with it. How many sessions did everyone have, how long did each session last? I am presumng i will start my treatment after my last chemo which is mid October and we are going on a family holiday ( in uk) at christmas, hope i have done the right thing booking it.  i had external radiotherapy 8 years ago for rectal cancer so i know some of the side effects.

  • Hi mum999. I had 4 sessions of brachytherapy and it was ok. The first appointment was about 40 mins in total as they did a CT scan first to determine measurements etc for the probe. Then I was taken to the treatment room for the actual treatment which was about 10 mins.It's relatively painless but I did take paracetamol about 30 mins before my treatment just in case! 

    The only side effects I had was a few weeks of intermittent cystitis but that was all,  so I was very lucky. You should be fine for your holiday. My 4 treatments were done over a 2 week period. 

    Hope everything goes ok.

    Love Sandy xx

  • Hi mum999 I have had brachy for my recurrence. I had PDR brachy. 3 days in hospit, 21 hours in a room having radiotherapy on the hour.  Your brachy will be dependent on your treatment plan and mdt team. Hope things go well for you. Dawn x

  • HI Dawn I am having PDR at The Christie Manchester. I have read the leaflet and it seems it takes about 14 hours ( over night stay ) and most people do this twice. thank you stef xx

  • Hi Stef I was lucky just the once at Weston Park, Sheffield. Hope things go well for you. I' ve no side effects although I had fatigue for a few weeks x Dawn

  • thank you Dawn - just want to get my christmas break away , got my daughter and family coming over from DUbai , son and financee from slovaki, daughter and boyfriend from USA and my eldest daughter and family who live close by - there will be 15 of us in total - can't wait xx

  • Hi Stef, I had the two 14 hour sessions at the Christie. You can't feel the hourly treatment at all, the only reason you know it's happening are the bleeps from the machine and the nurses closing the radiation proof door. The worst part for me was the stiffness and aching of my back caused by lying still for so long. I found a thin memory foam cushion helped a lot.

  • thank you - can i ask did you have many side effects afterwards ? x

  • Hi Stef, I didn't notice any side effects particularly from the brachytherapy. I had a few issues with urgent bathroom trips for quite a few months post op, but since I also went onto metformin for diabetes at around the same time, I think most of the bowel issues were related to that.

  • Sorry me again with more questions. I read in the Christie handbook i was given that the bracy is best given 6 to 12 weeks after hysterectomy. Mine will be end of november at the earliest 6 months after hysterectomy as i have been having chemo ( 6 rounds). When did you have yours?  I am thinking of asking doc if i can leave it until January rather than have it in December - wonder if a few more weeks would make much difference? xx

  • Hi mum999 . I had my surgery on the 5th September 18 and I had brachy on the 8th December 18. I did ask if it could be done  later but I was told no. Once he treatment has started they have to follow the protocol. But worth asking your team ? You never know ! 

    Xx

  • Hi Steph I recurred 6 months after my surgery, so I had brachy at 6 months post op.  The tumor which was 5 mm was removed via the biopsy, so the brachy was to kill any remaining cells.  I would speak to your CNS nurse. Xx Dawn

  • thank you - i think i will ask xx

  • thanks Dawn - i will ask at my next appointment xx

  • I had 4 brachytherapy sessions at the Christie, two one week, two the next. Lots of people have no side effects but I had soreness, bleeding, cystitis which lasted a few weeks and bladder and bowel issues which continued for a few months and still rear their ugly head every so often now 11 months later. My surgery was Aug 6 2018 and brachytherapy Oct 2018.

    Good luck xx

  • Hi Dawn, hope you don’t mind me asking, were you offered brachytherapy after your surgery? I’ve just had a total hysterectomy for a grade 3 stage 1a tumour. As far as they can tell it was fully contained and hadn’t spread into surrounding blood vessels etc. They have given me the choice to have brachytherapy or not and it would be as a precaution purely because its grade 3. Really struggling with the decision as I’ve been told it will only make a 1-2% difference to the chance of recurrence and if it does come back I wouldn’t be able to have the brachytherapy again. I don’t want to limit my treatment options if it does come back, especially when having brachytherapy now would only improve the percentage by a small amount.  

    I know it’s good that I’m in the position to have just been offered the treatment but I don’t know how to make the decision.  

    Thanks x

  • Hi Nelly17 no I wasn't offered brachetherapy post op because I was Stage 1a grade 1 even though I had cells in my blood and my consultant told me I wouldn't be offered further treatment at my stage and grade of cancer.  I did recurr after 6 months but the theory is that the cells came down in body fluids from the hysterectomy.  Decision making is difficult re treatment for this disease as no cancers act the same. Good luck and take care. Xx Dawn

  • thank you - there seems to be so many ways of doing it and so many different reactoins to it . i had normal radio 8 years ago for bowel cancer and remember the burning well, i've had 5 bladder operations since then x

  • Thank you for your reply Dawn, picked up on your comment because I’m also in Sheffield and was offered the 21 hours. Yes it’s very difficult to make these decisions. Best of luck with your continued recovery x 

  • I had grade 3 stage 1a too and had 3 sessions of brachytherapy about 6 weeks after surgery. I felt I was recovering ok from the surgery so most of the after effects I have had have been caused by the radiotherapy. It’s 7 months ago now and the fatigue is awful. Still using the dilators. I think everyone responds differently but all I would say is be prepared for side effects. Good luck