Mercy Radiation Oncologist Dr. Maria Jacobs Discusses Brachytherapy For Treating Gynecologic Cancers
Brachytherapy is a procedure that involves placing radioactive material inside the body to treat different cancers, including gynecological tumors.
Deborah Fraczkowski, 64, was diagnosed with uterine cancer two years ago. She has seen family members and friends with cancer and wanted to be proactive about treatment.
"So many people have cancer, and I work in the medical field, so I said, 'Let me know what I need to do and who I need to go see,'" she said.
Her treatment started with a total hysterectomy and then three rounds of radiation using a Flexitron machine to administer brachytherapy. During the procedure, a high dose of radioactive material is administered through an applicator into the vagina, directly to the tumors, with less radiation to surrounding areas.
"The dose in the periphery falls off quickly, so the rectum and the bladder will receive lower doses of radiation and we will have lower complication rate," said Maria C.E. Jacobs, M.D., Director of Radiation Oncology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. According to Dr. Jacobs, the procedure takes about 30 minutes, and patients can get right back to going about their day. Like with any radiation, there are side effects.
"The side effects of the radiation may come up six months after the radiation has been completed. Sometimes it can be a loose bowl movement, sometimes it can be vagina discharge, but usually these symptoms will improve overtime," Dr. Jacobs said.
Fraczkowski's cancer was diagnosed at Stage I, which is key for survival with few complications. She's now looking to the future, cancer-free.
View Mercy radiation oncologist Dr. Maria Jacobs’ interview about brachytherapy.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.