Cervical cancer brachytherapy is usually performed as a day case. You will be in the hospital for most of the day when you are having your brachytherapy treatment. You may want to bring a book or magazines with you.
The brachytherapy team looking after you will explain your treatment and possible side effect to you in detail. If you do not understand any words or phrases, please ask a member of the team. It does not matter how many times you ask the questions.
Treatment is normally given over three appointments on three consecutive weeks. You will need to come to the hospital early in the morning as we do the planning and treatment all in the same day.
The brachytherapy treatment is delivered through tubes called applicators. The applicator is inserted into your vagina in our dedicated brachytherapy theatre. You will have an epidural anaesthetic injection before this happens so that you cannot feel the procedure. After the applicator is in place, you will have either a computerised tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance (MR) scan. This allows us to take images of your cancer so that we can plan your treatment accurately.
There is a wait of 2 to 3 hours between the scan and the treatment whilst the physicists, oncologists and dosimetrists plan your individualised brachytherapy treatment.
The treatment takes approximately ten minutes. You will be alone in the room when you are having the treatment, but the radiographers can see and hear you at all times. We have a radio and CD player in the room so you can listen to music if you want to. Please feel free to bring a CD to listen to.
Once the treatment is finished, the applicators are removed. No radiation source is left inside your body. You can go home once you have had something to eat and drink, and the effects of the epidural have worn off.