How Radiation Therapy Can Help with Cervical Cancer

Posted on: 26 October 2016

Cervical cancer takes away a woman's ability to get pregnant. Your cervix is located at the lower part of your uterus which opens into your vagina. This disease occurs when regular cells in your cervix turns into cancer cells. It can take several years to develop, but can also occur in a short period of time.

Cervical cancer is a serious disease. It causes kidney failure, severe pain and vaginal bleeding. However, this cancer is preventable. It is estimated that 11% of women between the ages of 21 to 65 have not been screened for cervical cancer in five years. Visiting your gynecologist and getting regular screenings will help prevent the disease. A pap smear can detect abnormal cells, which allows you to catch the disease early. If you have recently learned you have cervical cancer, read on to find out how a radiation specialist can help with treating your disease.

What Are the Two Types of Radiation Therapy?

Radiation therapy is one of the treatment options for cervical cancer. This treatment uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. There are two common types of radiation therapy used to treat cervical cancer. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is administered using a machine that aims x-rays at your body. The second one is implant radiation. Implant radiation is when radioactive material is placed directly into your cervix. Your doctor may administer one treatment or a combination of both.

How Long Does Radiation Take?

Getting radiation is similar to getting a regular X-ray but in a stronger dosage. If your doctor chooses to treat you with EBRT, that is often used with chemotherapy. This treatment does not take a long time, but your doctor has to get you prepared. It is usually given five days a week and can take up to seven weeks to complete.  

How Does Radiation Help?

The procedure is done by focusing the radiation directly on the tumor. This approach reduces the risk of sexual dysfunction and gastrointestinal symptoms. Radiation therapy uses targeted energy to shrink tumors, destroy cancer cells, stop the growth of remaining cancer cells, and provide relief from cancer-related symptoms.

The diagnosis of a serious disease changes your outlook on life. It helps to explore your treatment options and to get a second opinion. Be sure to talk to your doctor about these and other treatments. He or she can further explain the benefits of radiation.