Long Term Effects of Radiotherapy (Brachytherapy)

Thought I would be fine after brachytherapy (a form of radiotherapy given internally for uterine cancer and in my case an absolute nightmare far worse than chemotherapy). But years after, I’m experiencing radiation burn on the external parts of my skin in the region. It feels like a painful sunburn, itchy, with skin peeling off leaving red raw skin exposed. It’s painful.

When you get radiation you’re locked inside a room with heavy doors and even an alarm goes off as the doctors and nurses sprint away as it’s so harmful. It’s quite comical if you think about it. But of course at the time you’re just trying not to have a panic attack. Take the anxiety medication the specialist gives you. It’s heaven sent and critical.

I was made to sign a lot of forms back then at the radiology department, basically so that I can’t take legal action against the hospital if I contract secondary cancers like bladder cancer, but I don’t quite recall specifics about radiation burn. Most definitely in the fine print though. But I wish doctors wouldn’t worry so much about medico legal action. All I and all patients want is a solution. I am well aware that cancer treatment is harsh and the long term effects may come years later. I wish there was more information out there about it and better follow up treatment post radiation. It feels like patients are left to deal with the fallout.

Even though I’m deeply embarrassed (I even feel irrational deep shame) by my condition, the dearth of information out there prompts me to write about it. On top of the burns and perhaps due to the burns, I now have severe psoriosis.

Psoriosis gets triggered by stress or injury of any form such as a sun burn for instance. Psoriosis on top of burnt skin is quite the nightmare in terms of skin splitting and the pain. It is keeping me up at night.

My gynaecologist was so kind and said it must be very painful with the broken skin. She was concerned that broken skin can become infected. She prescribed me a steroidal cream Fucidin, which is giving me relief and I am grateful, but she wants me to see a dermatologist next.

Will keep my fellow cancer patients and psoriosis sufferers posted on what works.

On the bright side I’m glad it’s not my greatest fear right now – secondary vulva cancer or uterine cancer that has spread and for that I breath a deep sigh of relief.

Even psoriosis and burns are a much better prognosis as I see how much Vulva cancer patients in my cancer support groups suffer. To me that’s a cancer far worse than endometrial cancer. (Although yes all cancers are bad) At least in my case internal organs and body parts are removed and I can get over the pain and not feel stigma or the debilitating effects.

Vulva cancer, being external, just feels extremely cruel and my heart aches for my online cancer friends who are inflicted with it. Their bravery to talk about it and raise awareness prompts me to write about this topic too.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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