The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: January 26, 2012
My mother is a 70 year old widow who had endometrial cancer and had radiation. Now she is being told to use a dilator, but she is uncomfortable doing this. Is it really necessary?
Nicole Ross, RN, MSN, OCN - Radiation Oncology Nurse at Penn Medicine, responds:
It is recommended that all female patients who receive radiation to the pelvis use a vaginal dilator a few times per week for life. This is used to prevent vaginal stenosis (narrowing and stiffening) or adhesions (scar tissue that can close off the vagina) forming in the vagina. If she is not sexually active and does not use a dilator, it potentially could make GYN exams uncomfortable for her. I understand that she may feel uncomfortable and it is very personal. If she chooses not to, she should inform her radiation oncologist.
You can learn more about vaginal dilators after radiation on OncoLink.
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Focus on Gynecologic Cancers transcript.
Nov 1, 2010 - Radiation therapy appears to reduce recurrence rates when added to surgical treatment of rectal cancer and to increase survival when added to medical management of prostate cancer, and a highly targeted radiation approach may reduce gastrointestinal complications associated with prostate cancer treatment, according to three studies to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 in San Diego.
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