19229 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Radiation Therapy for Cervical Cancer

    Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing. The strength of the x-rays used in radiation therapy is significantly stronger than that of a normal chest x-ray. The strength of these rays destroys a cell’s ability to reproduce.
    Radiation of a Tumor
    IMAGE
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
    There are two types of radiation therapy, and some people receive both types. They are:
    External beam radiation therapy —The rays are directed at the affected area from the outside of your body. This procedure is like having an x-ray. If you receive external radiation therapy, you will go to the hospital or clinic each day for treatment. Usually, treatments are given 5 days a week for 5 to 6 weeks. At the end of the treatment, the tumor site often gets an extra dose of radiation.
    Implant/internal radiation —This treatment gives additional, high-dose radiation directly to the area affected by the cancer. A capsule containing radioactive materials is placed directly into the cervix and another carrier may be placed in your vagina against the outside of the cervix.
    This capsule is usually left in place for 1 to 3 days, and the treatment may be repeated several days over the course of 1 to 2 weeks. You will stay in the hospital while the implants are in place. At some cancer centers, the radioactive implants can be performed over minutes instead of days, and there is no reason for an inpatient hospitalization. This latter method is called high dose rate brachytherapy. It is as effective as the older, more traditional low dose rate method, but it is far more convenient and less expensive.
    Possible side effects include:
    • Fatigue
    • Skin changes
    • Hair loss in the treatment area affected by the radiation
    • Loss of appetite
    • Bladder irritation
    • Bowel irritation, including diarrhea , blood in stool, and pain in the anal and vaginal areas
    • Cessation of menstruation
    • Vaginal itching, burning, and dryness
    • Changes in sexual and reproductive health
    • Possible blood clots in the pelvis or legs due to confinement to bed
    Call your doctor if you experience any of the following:
    • A pain that doesn't go away, especially if it's always in the same place
    • New or unusual lumps, bumps, or swelling
    • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • A fever or cough that doesn't go away
    • Unusual rashes, bruises, or bleeding
    • Any symptoms that you are concerned about

    References

    American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp .

    National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/ .

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.