Brachytherapy for cervical cancer does not increase the risk of ureteral stricture

Barcelona, Spain: A rare but potentially serious complication following radiation treatment for cervical cancer is a narrowing of the tube (the ureter) that takes urine from the kidneys to the bladder, which can lead to kidney damage and sometimes life-threatening infections. This is called ureteral stricture and, until now, there have been concerns that brachytherapy might increase the risk, although the treatment itself is associated with better survival.

However, new research presented at the ESTRO 37 conference today (Saturday) from two large international trials, shows that intracavitary and interstitial (IC/IS) brachytherapy is safe and does not increase the risk of ureteral stricture. Intracavitary (IC) brachytherapy involves placing an applicator in the uterus, while interstitial (IS) brachytherapy involves inserting needles directly into the tumour. Then the appropriate radiation dose is delivered to the cancer via one or both of these approaches. The procedure is performed after a CT or MRI scan has pinpointed the exact position of the cancer, so that the radiation treatment can be targeted precisely, and this is called image-guided brachytherapy (IGBT).

Dr Lars Fokdal (MD, PhD), a consultant at the Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, who led the study, said: “These results show that image-guided brachytherapy using


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