Endometrial Cancer HDR Brachytherapy
Women with cancer in the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, often have a hysterectomy as part of the endometrial cancer treatment process. After the uterus and cervix are removed, the oncologist may recommend using high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy on the upper portion of the vagina. HDR for endometrial cancer is given by inserting a cylinder filled with the radioactive material into the vagina and leaving it there for less than an hour at a time. The cylinder is then removed and the patient can go home right away. This process is repeated weekly or more often for at least three doses. The right dose for each patient is determined by her radiation oncologist, often in consultation with her surgeon and medical oncologist.
By using HDR brachytherapy for endometrial cancer, radiation primarily affects only the area that it is directly next to. Side effects from the radiation therapy also tend to be less severe than external beam radiation therapy. The most common side effect is a change in the lining of the vagina.