Cervical cancer is a disease that requires complex treatment. Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are used for the treatment of cervical cancer. In turn, radiation therapy is divided into the external and internal (brachytherapy) therapy.
- Brachytherapy for cervical cancer
- Types of brachytherapy
- How is the brachytherapy procedure carried out?
- Where can I undergo brachytherapy?
- Costs for brachytherapy in different countries
- Benefits of brachytherapy in foreign clinics
- Selection of the clinic specializing in brachytherapy for cervical cancer
- How can I undergo a treatment abroad?
Brachytherapy for cervical cancer
What is brachytherapy? Brachytherapy involves the placement of radioactive source near the affected organ: in the cervix or in the upper part of the vagina (if a hysterectomy was performed). Thus, brachytherapy allows the doctor to direct the maximum dose of radiation to the organ, which is affected by the tumor and at the same time limit the irradiation of adjacent healthy tissues.
Closed radioactive sources are used in brachytherapy. These can be radioactive isotopes of iridium or cobalt. With the help of special medical equipment, radioactive sources are inserted into the vagina and removed after a certain time.
Brachytherapy can be effectively applied at any stage of cervical cancer, but it is worth noting that brachytherapy is always used in combination with other treatment methods. Such comprehensive approach will eventually lead to recovery.
Types of brachytherapy
In foreign clinics, brachytherapy for cervical cancer is carried out in two ways. Both methods are equally effective. They differ only in the irradiation dose.
The following types of brachytherapy are applied for cervical cancer treatment:
- Low-dose brachytherapy (LDR) assumes the use of a radioactive source with a moderate dose rate. An applicator with a radioactive source is inserted in the cervix or the upper part of the vagina. The device is removed in 1-2 days. Hospitalization is required for LDR brachytherapy.
- High dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy assumes the use of radioactive source with a higher dose-rate (over 12 Gy/hr), due to which the treatment can be carried out in a shorter time. An applicator with a radioactive source is inserted into the cervix or the upper part of the vagina, and after 20-30 minutes it is removed. HDR brachytherapy is performed on an outpatient basis.
In general, patients tolerate the procedure well. Therefore, there is no need for rehabilitation after brachytherapy and a long stay in hospital.
How is the brachytherapy procedure carried out?
High-dose rate brachytherapy is often performed in foreign clinics. The patients usually have 1 high-dose rate brachytherapy session per week. The whole treatment course can last 4-5 weeks.
Main stages of high-dose rate brachytherapy:
- Planning stage. The patient undergoes pelvis MRI. According to the images obtained, the doctors determine the location of the tumor and adjacent healthy tissues and organs. Based on this data, radiologists calculate the optimal radiation dose and determine the location of the applicator.
- Implantation stage. The procedure is performed under anesthesia. The doctor inserts an applicator in the cervix (upper part of the vagina). The device is fixed with gauze tampons.
- Radiotherapy stage. The implanted applicator is connected to the tubes of the brachytherapy system. The equipment supplies radioactive granules to the applicator independently. After the procedure completion, the radioactive granules are automatically returned to the special storage of the equipment. The applicator is extracted.
A month after the treatment completion, it is necessary to undergo an examination. Thus, the doctor will be able to assess the effectiveness of brachytherapy and make adjustments to the treatment plan, if necessary.
Where can I undergo brachytherapy?
More and more women with cervical cancer from the CIS seek for medical care in foreign clinics. They want to undergo more modern and high-quality treatment, and their expectations are fully met here.
In particular, brachytherapy for cervical cancer is available in the following countries:
- South Korea
The total cost of brachytherapy for cervical cancer will depend on the prices of a particular clinic, the method of brachytherapy, the number of procedures, and the duration of hospital stay.
Costs for brachytherapy in different countries
Benefits of brachytherapy in foreign clinics
Germany, Israel, and Turkey are the undisputed leaders in the treatment of cancer. These countries have everything you need for the treatment of malignant tumors, including cervical cancer.
Benefits of brachytherapy in the listed countries:
- Brachytherapy is performed by highly qualified doctors with extensive practical experience
- The procedure is carried out using modern automated equipment
- Low risk of complications due to careful computer planning of the brachytherapy session and accurate calculation of the radiation dose
- High level of services and comfortable conditions of stay in the hospital
Selection of the clinic specializing in brachytherapy for cervical cancer
The leaders in the field of cervical cancer treatment are the countries of Central and Western Europe, particularly – Germany. Germany practices an integrative approach to the treatment of reproductive system malignant tumors in women. The specialists assess the benefits and risks of each therapeutic intervention in a particular patient and only then elaborate the treatment regimen.
However, in the presence of absolute indications for radiation therapy in cervical cancer, the specialists make a choice between external radiation therapy, low dose-rate and high dose-rate brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy). The most authoritative German hospitals in this field include:
- DKD HELIOS Clinic Wiesbaden, Department of Hematology and Oncology. The costs for a treatment of cervical cancer using radiation therapy (min 504 Gy) and chemotherapy (6 cycles) start from 20,700 EUR.
- Alfried Krupp Hospital in Essen-Steele. Department of Pulmonology, Gastroenterology, Oncology, Cardiology, Intensive Care, Internal Medicine. The cost of the procedure starts from 22,500 EUR.
- Academic Hospital Brothers of Charity Munich. Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Oncology and Internal Medicine. The cost of the procedure starts from 20,600 EUR.
As a rule, children and adults receive a treatment in the same department at the large university hospitals. This is another evidence of the high qualifications of operating gynecologists and oncologists, who consider the peculiarities of interventions in patients of different age groups.
How can I undergo a treatment abroad?
The medical tourism operator Booking Health will help you organize treatment abroad. We will select a hospital abroad, which demonstrates the best results in the treatment of cervical cancer, and we will book a treatment program. You do not need to worry about anything, because the specialists of our company will take care of all the issues.
Booking Health provides the following services:
- Communication with the clinic
- Translation of medical documents
- Assistance in visa application and provision of health insurance
- Provision of favorable costs for a treatment due to avoiding overpricing and additional coefficients for foreign patients
- Provision of travel services: booking airline tickets and hotels, organization of transfer from the airport, accompaniment by interpreter
A personal manager will prepare you for your trip abroad. He will stay in touch all the time and will help you solve any issue.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova