To treat a woman who still has a uterus with brachytherapy, radioactive material is placed in a metal tube (called a tandem) inside the uterus along with small metal holders (ovoids) or ring holders placed near the cervix. If a woman being treated for cervical cancer had a hysterectomy and no longer has a uterus, the tube containing radioactive material is placed in the vagina.
Depending on a patient’s individual case, low-dose or high-dose brachytherapy may be used as treatment for cervical cancer. Low-dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy is finished over the course of a few days. You must be hospitalized for this radiation treatment with instruments holding the radioactive material exactly in place.
High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy, on the other hand, involves several treatments, usually a week apart, conducted on an out-patient basis. For each treatment, radioactive material is inserted inside the uterus or vagina, precisely positioned near the malignancy, and then removed after a few minutes.
Intracavity brachytherapy can be used alone, or it can be combined with EBRT when radiation is the main treatment for cervical cancer.
Chemotherapy treatment for cervical cancer
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill malignant cells or stop them from dividing. Injected into a vein or swallowed, these anti-cancer drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells in most areas of the body. Chemo is usually administered in cycles, with a period of treatment followed by a period of recover.
Chemotherapy can be an important part of treatment for cervical cancer. Some doctors prescribe radiation therapy to be given along with chemotherapy before a hysterectomy for cervical cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
March 18, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN