Radiation Therapy

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

For women being treated for vaginal cancer, the radiation can be delivered in two way: (1) external radiation is directed at the entire abdomen or just the pelvis, depending on the location of the cancer; and (2) during internal radiation (brachytherapy) radioactive devices are placed in the vagina or surrounding tissue for a specified period of time.

The extent of the cancer dictates which or both of these delivery systems are used and in what order.

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

The CDC recently announced that fewer than half of American children are given the HPV vaccination.

Research

As of the July 23 deadline, 55 research abstracts were submitted in hopes of receiving one of only 6 grants from the Foundation. This points to a need for more funding so that the Foundation may award grants to every deserving applicant.

Education

The Gynecologic Cancer Global Health Forum will be Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014 in D.C.. For more information on educational events and courses, click here.