Cancer Radiotherapy Side Effects

Radiotherapy to the pelvic area usually causes several side effects. These can be diarrhea, irritable bladder (or radiation cystitis), feeling sick, bleeding from the vagina after internal radiotherapy, and soreness and redness of your vulva or back passage.

Commonly, radiation therapy makes your vagina become less stretchy and narrower. To try to prevent or minimize this, it is important to start using vaginal dilators after your treatment. Dilators are cone-shaped objects that come in different sizes. You put the dilator into your vagina gently for 5 to 10 minutes about 3 times a week. This will stretch the vagina and help to stop it from narrowing. Dilators were historically made of plastic or metal and required lubrication and thorough cleaning with soap and water. Many patients found them prohibitively painful and often discontinued critical post-cancer treatment prematurely due to the extreme discomfort. With the arrival of the “Cool Water Cones,” hundreds of women are now able to continue treatment without the pain! Please let us know your experiences with traditional dilators versus Cool Water Cones – we would love to hear the feedback.

see http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/ for full text

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Cancer Radiotherapy Side Effects

  1. Wendy Linder

    I saw this great website and will be calling to get one.. I also gave the information to my cancer doc.. and she will now be getting these for her patients..

  2. Gayle

    The Cool Water Cones are the next generation! It is an amazing device and I wonder why it hasn’t come along sooner. I’ve used the cone for about a year and a half and am thoroughly pleased with this product. My oncologist recommended it to me after learning about it from one of his patients – she was the inventor’s wife! I have since told my radiologist about its wonders and he is in the process of checking into it for his future patients.
    The changes in my body post-radiation were unexpected and traumatic – I was ready for anything to make life a little happier! The cones are comfortable and easy to use. I go strictly by instructions, rinsing before and after each treatment; I store it in plastic zip bag and place in the refrigerator. Be careful that it doesn’t freeze as some refrigerators can do (especially if stored toward the back.) This happened to me once when traveling.
    The life of my first dilator lasted a few months; it seemed to break down and was easily nicked; finally the tip broke off. I opened the second one January 2010 and used it for a month when the doctor told me I no longer needed to use it. Later that year in December I had to restart therapy. It had been stored in the frig all that time and was in good condition to restart use. I have used it daily since December and after four months it’s holding up fine. I use the water cone daily for about 10 minutes and there is no pain and very easy to use. When we travel I place the cone in the plastic bag then into a hard plastic container for protection; it is stored it in the cooler until we reach our destination.
    My only question about the cones is its expected shelf life. The instructions indicate that it can be stored in the refrigerator up to two weeks. Yikes, hope I haven’t used it too long, but it seems to still be in good shape. At any rate, I give this product an A++ rating and recommendation to others; and I hope the company will be able to stay in business for a long, long time because I’m going to need it that long! My immense “Thanks” to the inventor and for making it available at a reasonable cost.

    • .Gayle,
      Thank you for your kind words on Cool Water Cones. We cannot begin to tell you how joy filled we are that Cool Water Cones have and continue to bring you relief and comfort. Our hope is that others will see your results and also come to experience the benefits of a Hydrocolloid dilator as well.

      As for the expected shelf life of Cool Water Cones… Every cone is boxed with an expiration date on the outside of the blue box. (or white box if you have a starter kit) But once the vacuum seal is opened we highly recommend you use the Cone, then wash and properly store until next use. Which it does sound like you have been diligent at through you Cone use. We do though, strongly recommend that you replace your current Cone with a new Cone every 3 weeks. The reason for this is that the cones are 90% water and will begin to evaporate, becoming less flexible and comfortable as a result of the natural evaporation. After a month or two of daily use with the same cone, you could start to see signs of wear. For these reasons we ALWAYS recommend a replacement Cone after no more then a month at most. If you live in a dry desert or dry high mountain climate we suggest 2 weeks for maximum comfort.

  3. JGD

    I was not able to use the dilator that my RT doc. provided – very hard and uncomfortable. I was kinda freaked out by the changes that occurred from radiation. I was doing some research on google and this site came up. After reading about it, I decided it was worth a try. I can’t believe the difference. It is cool and pliable and not painful. I finally feel as though I can make some progress with recovery with this dilator. These kind of physical changes are upsetting enough ~ it’s nice to have something that was designed to help with the discomfort. I don’t know why RT docs. and OBGYNs don’t recommend these regulary for women undergoing Radiation treatment. Definitely worth the money. Thanks!

  4. Just had a great visit with my Oncologist yesterday (Doesn’t that sound like an oxymoron?) But I really did and he said that he is so very pleased with the results that I have gotten since my use of the Cool Water Cones. That my results were so much better than the women not using the cones. I wish that you all did use them because nobody should have to hurt anymore during exams. I don’t!

  5. J H

    That’s what is sooo amazing about these dilators. The Cool Water Cones do not cause me any pain or discomfort when I use them. Before I tried the Cone, I was given one of those plastic dilators with 2 catsup pack shaped lubricant packs. My skin had a BAD reaction to the lubricant and the dilator was terrible painful hard. So I stopped using it. My Doc said that I was hour glassing inside and he needed me to keep using it. But I just couldn’t stand it. Then we found one of these cones. The difference of using the Cool Water Cone compared to what I tried in the past was like night and day and suddenly all was a little better in my world. What helps me most is that there is no need for those gross lubricants, because the Cone stays unbelievably slippery on its own with just a splash of water from the sink. And the Cone itself is kinda flexible so it like bends some as it slides in.. Its weird to be explaining, If your Doc is making you use a dilator too, then you should just try it for yourself and see what I mean. I am over the moon happy that I found Cool Water Cones.

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