Barbara Touchstone first survived cervical cancer following a radical hysterectomy, radiation and chemotherapy. In spite of the debilitating rigor of her initial course of treatment, the cancer returned in 2015.
As a 35-year-old nurse and mother, she had reached the maximum safe dose of radiation deliverable through traditional means for cervical cancer treatment. Seemingly out of options, Dr. John Sheldon, a radiation oncologist with the Sarah Cannon Cancer Network and Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, brought his experience with brachytherapy to bear with a targeted treatment for Barbie.
There is a long history of radioactive seed implants for prostate cancer. It is just emerging as an option in the setting of gynecological cancer. Dr. Sheldon’s 20 years experience in doing permanent seed implant brachytherapy for prostate cancer treatment and emerging data indicating its potential for successfully treating cervical and other gynecologic cancers gave him hope this would be the case for Barbara.
Treatment with permanent seed brachytherapy (with Cesium-131 in this case) for women with cervical cancer is much more convenient and ‘friendly’ for the patient, Dr. Sheldon says. The procedure is done under anesthesia and the patient goes home the same day avoiding additional risks associated with prolonged hospital stays. After 4 weeks, the radiation has been completely delivered. She goes back to her normal life. She’s out of the hospital and the treatment is done.
“I was able to go back working 16-hour shifts,” Barbie says. “I was able to start introducing foods I hadn’t been able to eat or drink when I was going through radiation and chemotherapy.
“I am 38 years old and a two-time cancer survivor. Three years later and you’d never know by looking at me. I’m fortunate enough to have a doctor who decided to [use] radiation seeds because it did, in fact, save my life. I’m hoping we will start using them more when treating these types of cancers.”
If you would like to know more about the power of Cesium-131 and its ability to treat cancer beyond prostate, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.