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, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at www.mdmercy.com, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.