Original Research

Treatment optimisation using external beam radiation in gynaecological cancers

V. Sharma, U. Majeed, D. Joseph, S. Lindikile, N. Madhoo, H. Copelyn, J. Kotzen, M. Mohiuddin, B. Donde, D. van der Merwe
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 8, No 3 | a120 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajr.v8i3.120 | © 2004 V. Sharma, U. Majeed, D. Joseph, S. Lindikile, N. Madhoo, H. Copelyn, J. Kotzen, M. Mohiuddin, B. Donde, D. van der Merwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 February 2004 | Published: 09 June 2004

About the author(s)

V. Sharma, Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics, Johannesburg Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
U. Majeed, Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics, Johannesburg Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
D. Joseph, Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics, Johannesburg Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
S. Lindikile, Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics, Johannesburg Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
N. Madhoo, Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics, Johannesburg Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
H. Copelyn, Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics, Johannesburg Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
J. Kotzen, Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics, Johannesburg Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
M. Mohiuddin, Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics, Johannesburg Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
B. Donde, Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics, Johannesburg Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
D. van der Merwe, Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics, Johannesburg Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

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Abstract

The majority of patients with gynaecological cancers present with advanced stages in which external beam radiation forms a major component of the treatment. These patients undergo simulation for treatment planning prior to radiation. Currently the lower extent of the disease is evaluated by vaginal examination and marked using a lead wire on the anterior abdominal wall in the pelvic region. A 2 cm margin inferior to this level is used as the lower border of the treatment field. The suggested modified technique includes the placement of an indigenously designed perspex vaginal obturator with graduations at 1 cm distance from its tip. Following vaginal examination the obturator can be inserted into the vagina and fixed at the predefined length using a fixation device. The radio-opaque markers can be seen even in the lateral films. Twentyfive consecutive patients underwent the procedure and the differences between the two methods of marking the lower border were calculated. The external lead wire was inferior to the internal obturator in 19 patients (76%) ranging from 0.5 cm to 3 cm (median 1.5 cm, mean 1.37 cm). It was at the same level in 4 patients (16%) and 1 cm superior to the internal obturator in 2 (8%). With the modified technique using the internal obturator application for delineating the lower border of vaginal disease or vault, it was possible to decrease the length of field thereby reducing the chances of treatment-related toxicity, especially groin and vulval reactions, as well as avoiding treatment interruptions.

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