Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) uses high-energy x-rays, or other types of radiation, to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing.
Radiation therapy can be used:

  • Instead of surgery to treat early-stage endometrial cancer although this is uncommon.
  • Before surgery, to shrink the cancer (called neoadjuvant therapy).
  • After surgery, to kill any cancer cells that may have been left behind (called adjuvant therapy).

Two types of radiation therapy are used to treat endometrial cancer:

  • External radiation therapy uses a machine that directs the x-rays toward a precise area on the body. The therapy is usually givenevery day for about 6 weeks. It does not hurt and only takes a few minutes each day. You can be treated at a clinic, hospital or radiationoncology office.
  • Internal radiation therapy (also called brachytherapy) involves placing a small capsule of radioactive material inside the vagina. This procedure can be performed either on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending upon your treatment teams’ recommendation.

Side Effects of Radiation

The side effects of radiation therapy depend on the dose used and the part of the body being treated. Common side effects include:

  • Dry, reddened skin in the treated area
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Discomfort when urinating
  • Narrowing of the vagina
  • Anemia

Most of these side effects are temporary. Be sure to talk with your treatment team members about any side effects you experience. They can help you find ways to manage them.

Spotlight

Visit the Sisterhood of Survivorship page to read “Dena’s Story” — by a vulvar cancer survivor who has shared her story and wise words, and channeled her energy into her National Race to End Women’s Cancer team.

Awareness

Vaccine efficacy against vulvar infection with HPV 16/18 was comparable to the efficacy found against cervical infection 4 years after vaccination, according to researchers with the National Cancer Institute.

Research

The Foundation has published its 2014-2015 Research Grants and Awards Booklet with Applications. Please consider applying to become part of an elite group of physician-scientists committed to the well-being of women at risk for/affected by gyn malignancies.

Education

The next Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course will be Saturday, July 26, 2014 in Boston. For more information on courses, click here.