Brachytherapy - Stage 2a

If you had stage 2a squamous cell carcinoma - how many courses brachytherapy did you have to have?

This is my stumbling block. I have finally tried to accept that radiotherapy and chemo will be happening and that I can do them. But the thought of brachy is making me feel physically sick. It’s barbaric :frowning:
Disclaimer - I have a hospital/medical phobia and am struggling mentally with all of this.

@Frenchie ,

The brachy is the most essential part of your treatment to obliterate remaining tumor after your chemo and radiation. But I did also learned that there are others here who declined this part of the treatment or can’t physically do it due to other medical conditions and just went for more radiation sessions. It’s an option for you too if you think you can’t do it and it’s something you can talk to your medical team about. I think all of us here didn’t wanna do it either but at that point we just have to hit this disease with all we got and improve our chances of not getting recurrence. If ever you decide to do the brachy, they will do everything to make you comfortable and pain free. Epidural and pain pumps were able to make me feel numb and was able to do 5 sessions of brachy. I was under when they’ve put the equipments in me so I have no memory of them doing the procedure. The brachy sessions are also quick and painless. The just hooked you up in the machine, do CT scans. I wish you all the best. You have the options and in the end it’s your choice. I was also young when I was diagnosed. Only 37. I’m turning 40 this May and still clear. Xx

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It’s not about pain. I can deal with pain, I had two children at home with no pain relief. I can’t cope with the things being in me, the catheter and the rods, while I am awake. I realise that I’m completely mental, but this is my worst nightmare.

The point about the brachy is that its more targeted so the cancer gets more of it and your body gets less. The less radiation the better. I couldn’t have brachy as i had just had a hysterectomy and I had a second cancer caused by the extended radiation many years later which required total pelvic exenteration. Phobias are difficult to deal with but if you discuss it with them I am sure they would be sympathetic and have ideas as the best way to support you. Its all crap but you will get through this. Good luck

That sounds awful, I’m sorry that happened to you.

So far they all seem to make ‘aww’ noises at me and don’t actually come up with any solutions for me. It appears I either need to grit my teeth and allow them to do whatever or just die.

The gritting the teeth option might be the best way to go. Write on your hand “This too shall pass” and focus on that. I had stage 3 cancer first time and all i wanted to achieve was to see my children grow up. Well i did it, and i am going to be a Granny in September! Focus on the big goal and you honestly can do it!

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I’m only 35. I’m just living a complete nightmare. My phobia makes it so difficult for me to grit my teeth. I feel like I can do it through chemo and radio but the brachy is the thing that’s really really getting me

I was only 34 first time. So very similar. Still here!! 61 now. Keep the faith!


Hey @Frenchie,
I was diagnosed stage 3c this time last year, at 33 just 4 months after giving birth to my second son (I also have a 3 year old)
I know how you feel with young children and thinking of all the what ifs, but I echo what all these other amazing women say and it does pass and soon will just be a (really awful) memory.
So far I am all clear, treatment was tough with little ones but if you have someone that can support you like a partner, mum, sibling… ask for help!
My husband did help me a lot, I wasn’t able to do the normal things I usually would do.
Not everyone feels like this during treatment and some still work or go about their usual business but having some support makes things much easier.

I know what you mean about not wanting your kids to see you like that but at the other side they will be much happier that you were strong, brave and went through it all and are here as appose to the opposite!

You got this xx

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Thank you for your message. I’m so sorry that happened to you. Did you have to have brachy too? I’m hoping I can power through the chemo and radio. Were you able to work? I don’t know what to do in terms of work.

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Yeah I did have x3 Brachy treatments, they say Brachy is a big part of the treatment in terms of effectiveness.
It’s a little different here in Australia…
I see a lot of girls say they stay laying for 30 hours but I just went in 3 days in a row as a day patient, was put to sleep each time and then able to leave, I think the whole thing took an hour (the Brachy itself was apparently 10 mins)
The whole idea of it made me cringe and feels violating to think of having to do but once it’s done you’re glad it’s over and you got through it to get rid of any rouge cells.
And you’ll have no memory of the actual procedure.

I didn’t work, I was actually suppose to be on maternity leave :crazy_face: but there’s no way I personally would have been able to work, I got quite weak but saying that it was a quick recovery, after a month after treatment I was feeling much better and then by 3 months after felt way better was walking daily and doing all the things I use to do xx

Oh so you weren’t awake for the brachy at all?? That gives me hope. I really hope they’ll do that for me.

Yeah not at all! Xx

I did 25 radiation treatments with 5 chemo treatments weekly.then my brachy was one over night stay with two treatments and repeat following week. I was stage 2B. For brachy, they put the device in while under anesthesia then I had a bunch of scans and the actual treatments were nothing because the wires were sticking out of me and they just plugged into to them. My trauma was all about the removal of everything and then having to go back and do it again. I’ll tell you though, the brachy is very important and supposed to be 50% of the treatment! My MRI after concurrent chemo/radiation showed my tumor was gone, but there is always the case of the hiding bad cells that brachy takes care of. I’d say go for it if you can figure out a way to do it. Try an antianxiety med! Best of luck to you!

I just know if I wake up from being asleep with rods and wires and things sticking out of me I’ll be so distressed. I really struggle just being in a hospital. When I went under general for the lletz I woke up and was like please can I go. The whole thing is trauma to me. Gowns and catheters and things. It all starts me off and I cry and can’t breathe and that’s just standing in a hospital. If I wake up and that’s in me and I can’t move it’s going to be awful. I think they’re going to have to keep me under or sedate me. I’ve been taking diazepam to go to scans and things and it does nothing for the emotional distress I’m in so I don’t think anything else will work.

I’ve just read through this thread and I was wondering if keeping you under or a sedation was an option. I had it done and had 4 sessions, 2 one week and 2 the following week. I had to lie in the bed completely still for 24 hours which was hard but I did it. Bearing in mind I have no hospital phobia. The rods and catheter didn’t bother me, I couldn’t feel them at all and I kind of distanced my head away from my body (if that makes sense) I didn’t google brachytherapy before hand which I think helped. You definitely need to have an indepth conversation with your oncologist or nurse and make sure they know how this is affecting you. Good luck xx

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I’m definitely going to request it. At every single stage of this I’ve told everyone just how utterly terrified I am. And they can see that because I physically shake in front of them (I wish I wasn’t like this!!) and they suggested general anaesthetic for the lletz. This is so far past the lletz, they’ve surely got to let me at least have something, right?

Frenchie, different hospitals do the treatment differently depending on the equipment they have so you need to ask your team what type of brachytherapy is going to be done-for example it is a different procedure again if you have already lost your womb.

My brachytherapy would have been over 2 days, and would have only involved anaesthetic for the rod insertion. You are not kept under general anaesthetic for 2 days as this is not possible. Everyone here will have had different procedures, so you can’t assume a certain thing will happen. Ask your doctors which type will be used and for how long.

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I haven’t lost my womb. I was hoping and hoping that it would be small enough for surgery to fix me. But I wasn’t lucky enough. I know they’ll do things differently but when I mentioned how utterly terrified of it I am to the specialist nurse she just said not to think about it yet. But I don’t know how I can’t think of it yet when it’s such an enormous source of terror for me.

I was just trying to explain there are different types of brachytherapy, because some people who have lost already their womb might assume all brachytherapy is done like they have had. I appreciate you haven’t had a hysterectomy though.

You have a lot of treatment to go through before brachytherapy but I know it will be on your mind, that’s typical for most women facing this. Only you will know if you can complete the treatment or not-everyone has choices.