My journey with brachytherapy and breast cancer treatment
Maria from Foyos describes in this video how she discovered brachytherapy and how it helped her overcome breast cancer.
"I believe that brachytherapy improved my life as psychologically not having my breast removed made me feel better."
The breast cancer diagnosis
Maria resides in Foyos, Spain as a happy pensioner. She cherishes every day, spending all her time on her hobbies and children. Despite having endured the hardship of breast cancer, she tells us about her story and her family. She tragically lost her twin sister to the disease a few years ago, and she too has been diagnosed with cancer on two occasions. During the last year of her sister's battle against breast cancer, she fought alongside her, courageously facing the same struggle. Maria received the devastating news for the first time in 2005. The second diagnosis came during a routine checkup when her doctor found a cyst on her breast during the examination. Even if she had not experienced specific symptoms, the blood test and biopsy revealed it was cancerous.
Brachytherapy giving hope to breast cancer patients
When Maria consulted with Dr. Guinot, an acclaimed radiotherapist and brachytherapy specialist, she felt a newfound sense of optimism. He informed her that the benefits of brachytherapy, an internal radiation treatment, could spare her from having a full mastectomy. Maria remembers the moment he said, “It is not necessary to remove the entire breast.” With that, she knew a positive outcome for cancer was within reach.
What is Brachytherapy? How Does it Work?
Brachytherapy is a form of radiation treatment where a source of radiation is administered inside the patient's body (internal radiation). It allows a higher dose to be delivered directly to the area where the tumor is located. This technique limits the amount of radiation exposure to the targeted area while minimizing the impact on the surrounding healthy tissue. Brachytherapy is also performed to provide an additional “boost” of radiation after whole-breast radiation has already been completed.
Although Maria was initially hesitant, Dr. Guinot convinced her. She eventually agreed with the treatment plan he suggested, led by her optimistic nature and tenacity. She was determined to fight for her life and accept whatever outcome fate had in store. She thought to herself: "Nobody wants this to happen, but I'm willing to do what it takes."
Dr. Guinot further explained the treatment protocol for Maria. Like for most breast cancer patients, it would start with surgery to first remove the tumor. Then Maria would go through radiotherapy and brachytherapy to help prevent the cancer from returning. She recalls: “The day after the operation, I went for brachytherapy treatment. They put the needles in and within three days, my radiotherapy treatment was done.”
"Brachytherapy Helped Me Stay Positive"
Maria reflects on her birth of resilience and strength. She expresses her deep gratitude to brachytherapy for transforming her life for the better. Not having to go through the emotional and physical impact of her whole breast removal was a huge relief for her. The fact that she could still maintain her sense of self and identity, despite her breast being smaller, has been invaluable. She says: “I believe that brachytherapy improved my life because psychologically above all, not having my breast removed made me feel better.”
With advice from the medical team, it is ultimately up to the patient to decide what the best course of action is, and Maria is glad she chose brachytherapy over the other options.
Learn more about Brachytherapy as a treatment option for breast cancer by visiting aboutbrachytherapy. Throughout the site, you will find meaningful resources for patients and families with additional patient stories.
Maria Shares Her Optimism and Determination to Help Cancer Patients
Maria’s deepest desire now is to lead a long and fulfilling life. She wants to travel, create, and experience all the wonders this world has to offer. With optimism and perseverance, she strives to maintain a passionate appreciation for life, no matter the obstacles she may face.
Maria encourages cancer patients to have trust in their healthcare team and medical providers. They are dedicated to providing support and guidance during their patient's treatment journey. She encourages resilience, to remain strong, patient, and optimistic, even on the days spent in the hospital when life seems challenging. Maria firmly believes that having a zest for life and staying hopeful can help them get through their treatment with courage and determination.
She says: "You can't let something like this leave you down and depressed. You've just got to keep going."