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Brachytherapy for locally advanced cervical cancer: A survey of UK provision of care and support

Humphrey, Pauline; Dures, Emma; Hoskin, Peter; Cramp, Fiona

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Pauline Humphrey

Emma Dures
Associate Professor in Rheumatology and Self-management

Peter Hoskin

Fiona Cramp
Professor in Long Term Conditions


Background and purpose: Gynaecological brachytherapy can cause anxiety, distress and discomfort. It is not known how variation in delivery impacts women's experiences. To inform future research an online survey was carried out to identify variations in brachytherapy and support available to women receiving treatment for locally advanced cervical cancer (LACC). Materials and methods: An online survey was sent to 44 UK brachytherapy centres using the Qualtrics® survey platform. It included questions about brachytherapy scheduling, inpatient/day case treatment, anaesthetic/analgesia, non-pharmacological support and health professionals’ opinions regarding holistic care. A mixture of closed questions with pre-specified options and open questions were employed. Descriptive statistics were generated to identify variance in UK practice. Free text responses were analysed using inductive content analysis. Results: Responses were received from 39/43 eligible centres (91% response rate). Brachytherapy was predominantly given on an inpatient basis at 65% and day case at 35% of centres. Eleven scheduling regimes were reported with typical duration of brachytherapy ranging from three to 52 h. The main categories identified in response to what worked well were: ‘consistency of staff’; ‘good information provision’ and ‘experienced/skilled/senior staff’. The main categories identified as needing improvement were: ‘training of different staff groups’ and ‘follow up and support’ with many suggestions for service improvements. Conclusion: The survey provided a comprehensive overview of brachytherapy services for LACC demonstrating wide variability in scheduling regimes, duration of treatment and holistic care. The findings support the need to explore women's experiences with a range of treatment regimes and anaesthesia and analgesia techniques to inform improvements to future clinical care.


Humphrey, P., Dures, E., Hoskin, P., & Cramp, F. (2021). Brachytherapy for locally advanced cervical cancer: A survey of UK provision of care and support. Radiotherapy and Oncology, 159, 60-66.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 7, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 15, 2021
Publication Date Jun 1, 2021
Deposit Date Mar 17, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 15, 2021
Journal Radiotherapy and Oncology
Print ISSN 0167-8140
Electronic ISSN 1879-0887
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 159
Pages 60-66
Public URL


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