How brachytherapy successfully treated my rare clear cell tumour

Real Stories

Patrizia openly discusses her successful brachytherapy experience in treating a rare clear-cell tumor, an uncommon type of cervical cancer. She happily recounts how she emerged from the procedure tranquil and safe.

"Your greatest wish is serenity and normality."

Patrizia is 56 years old and works in a school as an IT technician assistant. She has two lovely children: Antonio who is almost 17 years old and Francesca who is one year younger.

Patrizia tells us how grateful she is for her very supportive husband Mario. She describes him as an incredibly generous and remarkable person: "he is someone who's always there for me, he has always encouraged me. He really is a generous person, and let’s say exceptional".

Thumbnail: Patrizia, cervical cancer survivor talks about her experiences with brachytherapy

Cervical Cancer Diagnosis

In 2017, Patrizia received a diagnosis of thyroid cancer. In order to assess the situation, she underwent a hysteroscopy, a minor surgical procedure to examine the uterine cavity. She vividly recalls the moment she first heard of her diagnosis. She had to wait to get the results until the clinic called her. She recalls: "When the clinic called me back, I immediately understood from the phone call that something was wrong". She adds: "I have to say that when I had the hysteroscopy, I saw that the doctor was very concerned".

At her appointment with her gynecologic oncologist, the doctor confirmed the test results showing called clear-cell cancer, a rare cervical cancer. Patrizia was overwhelmed by the news, so it was reassuring to have her husband with her.

When discussing the treatment plan, the doctor said that the only option for this early-stage cervical cancer was a radical hysterectomy (the surgical removal of the cervix, uterus, and surrounding tissues). Patrizia would then need to get radiation therapy in combination with chemotherapy.

Worldwide, cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women with an estimated 604 000 new cases in 2020. (reference:

Brachytherapy as a part of cervical cancer treatment methods

After her successful hysterectomy, Patrizia attended her first follow-up appointment where the professor gave her the reassuring news that all had gone according to plan. The professor then outlined the next steps in Patrizia's cancer treatment journey: chemotherapy, external beam radiotherapy, and brachytherapy.

When the gynecologic oncology team mentioned brachytherapy treatment, Patrizia wanted to learn more about it and scoured the internet for information. However, she found the resources to be lacking and was left feeling confused and frustrated.

What is brachytherapy treatment?

Brachytherapy is a treatment option for many types of cancer including cervical cancer. It's a radiation therapy, also called internal radiotherapy, that aims to kill cancer cells and cancerous tissue (such as squamous cell carcinomas of the uterus) from inside the body. With this technique, the radioactive materials are administered within or very close to the cancer cells in a very localized area while preserving the healthy cells in the surrounding tissue.

Most cervical cancers - including early-stage diseases and more advanced cervical cancer- are usually treated by surgery then chemoradiation followed by brachytherapy.

After a hysterectomy, brachytherapy is a treatment that can help reduce the risk of cervical cancer coming back by killing the remaining cancer cells.

At Elekta, we understand that making decisions about treatment or getting clear information about a specific therapy can be daunting. To support cervical cancer patients in making an informed decision about their treatment strategy, we have created resources like a patient guide and a compilation of the most frequently asked questions.

Patrizia's experience with brachytherapy

As she explains it, Patrizia was hesitant to have brachytherapy treatment, but she decided to take the plunge. To her surprise, she felt empowered and ready to take on the challenge. She felt like she was on a mission to conquer her cervical cancer. Despite feeling worn out from all the other treatments and her weakened immune system, the actual brachytherapy procedure was surprisingly painless. She felt tranquil and safe after the session. She is glad she went through with the brachytherapy, as it was a positive and rewarding experience.

"Brachytherapy is worth considering"

Today, Patrizia is encouraging cancer patients to consider brachytherapy as a treatment option: "If your doctor has presented you with an option that doesn't involve surgery and anesthesia but promises a high chance of curing your cancer, it's worth considering."

Brachytherapy has a highly successful track record of eradicating disease, making it a viable option worth exploring as you strive for a return to a healthy, peaceful life.