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Frequently asked questions



Can I just have brachytherapy alone to treat my cervical cancer?

This depends on the stage of your cancer. In early stage cancer, brachytherapy alone is an effective treatment.1 If the cancer is locally advanced, a combination of treatments may be needed. Your doctor will discuss your treatment with you.

I’ve never heard of brachytherapy, how do I know if it’s any good?

Brachytherapy has been used to effectively treat cervical cancer for over 100 years.2  It is very effective and is recognized as the standard treatment in combination with External beam radiotherapy for cervical cancer in many countries.3

If the cancer comes back, can I choose to have brachytherapy again?

Should the cancer return, your doctor may recommend another treatment, such as surgery with a course of chemotherapy, rather than another radiotherapy course.

Will I lose my hair during the radiotherapy course?

It would be unusual for you to lose your hair during brachytherapy.4,5 Hair loss is more likely during a course of chemotherapy.

What are the side effects of brachytherapy in the treatment of cervical cancer?

All treatments for cervical cancer carry a risk of side effects. Side effects of brachytherapy can include problems passing urine, bowel problems and dryness or less stretching of the vagina.5,6


Other questions?

If you have a general question about brachytherapy that is not answered here, email us at and we will do our best to provide an answer on the website.

Please note that, while we will endeavor to answer as many questions as possible, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to post answers to all questions submitted. Please also note that we can only answer general questions – please contact your healthcare professional if you have any concerns or questions about your personal health.




National Cancer Institute. Available at:

1. Accessed March 2014
2. Connell P and Hellman S. Cancer Res 2009;69:383-89
3. Han K et al. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2013 Sep 1;87(1):111-9
4. Viswanathan AN, Petereit DG. In: Brachytherapy: applications and techniques. Devlin PM (Ed). Philadelphia, PA, LWW. 2007
6. Viani GA, Manta GB, Stefano EJ, et al. J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2009;28:47