New cervical cancer treatment offered across Houston

HOUSTON – A new treatment is available for women with cervical cancer.

Houston Methodist allowed KPRC inside its internal radiation room where doctors are treating women with faster, outpatient procedures to get rid of tumors.

They claim that leads to less time-consuming treatment and can minimize side effects.

Jessica Guzman, 31, finished radiation after five treatments with Dr. Andrew Farach.

He uses Image Guided Intracavitary Brachytherapy, or internal radiation.

Previous treatments for cervical cancer used to require days in the hospital, with patients forced to be isolated from other people.

Now, in five, four-hour treatments, Farach said eliminating tumors like Guzman’s is almost a guarantee, but the challenge is saving her from long-term side effects.

“We expect to cure with this treatment. We have over 90 to 95 percent expectation of cure rate in these cases, and so this is why I’m so excited about minimizing long-term side effects because I’m not worried about curing her, I’m worried about her life for the next 20 years,” Farach said.

Since other organs like the bladder, intestines and sexual organs are close to the targeted tumor, Farach said they would get damaged with previous treatments and leave women with other problems like incontinence or sexual dysfunction.

But now, Farach said the benefit of brachytherapy is he can control the reach of radiation down to the millimeter, keeping it on top of the tumor and away from other organs.

That kind of long-term planning is good news for Guzman, who at 31 years old has a lot of life left to live.

“I have two boys, a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old,” she said. “They will do anything to make me happy and to see me better. I know that they're the reason that I keep going.”

After cancer treatment, Houston Methodist offers pelvic floor physical therapy.  

A weakened pelvic floor can lead to incontinence, pelvic and back problems among other serious complications.

The programs are available in five locations across Houston:

Houston Methodist Center for Restorative Pelvic Medicine
6560 Fannin, Ste 2100 Houston, TX 77030

Center for Restorative Pelvic Medicine – Pelvic Health Physical Therapy 
6550 Fannin, Ste 2221 Houston, TX 77030

Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital
13802 Centerfield Drive, Ste 200  Houston, TX 77070

Houston Methodist West Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation
18400 Katy Frwy. Medical Office Building 1, Ste 220 Houston, TX 77094

Houston Methodist Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at Clear Lake
16969 N. Texas Ave. Ste 100 Webster, TX 77598