Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy

What is brachytherapy?

Brachytherapy, also known as internal radiation, is a type of radiation treatment performed for the treatment of cancer. The treatment involves the delivery of high doses of radiation to specific areas of the body.

The procedure can be used to treat a number of types of cancer, including cancers of the brain, breast, head, neck, pancreas, prostate and skin, among others.

 

How does it work?
Before brachytherapy begins, your oncologist may perform scans and imaging tests to prepare for the treatment.

 

During the treatment session, radioactive material is placed inside the body in one of a number of ways, including:

 

  • Intracavity brachytherapy
    During this treatment, a device that contains radioactive material, such as a tube or cylinder, is placed inside a body cavity. The device is placed either by hand, or with a computerised machine.

 

  • Interstitial brachytherapy
    A device containing radioactive material is placed into the body tissue, such as the breast or prostate. The radioactive material may be contained in tiny seeds or wires, which are inserted into the tissue with the use of special applicators. In some cases, the material may be administered through catheters.

 

Brachytherapy can be delivered in either a high or low dose, depending on your specific needs. During high-dose brachytherapy, the radioactive material is placed in the body for a short period only. You will be positioned on the treatment table and the radiation device will be inserted into your body. The procedure will take around twenty minutes, after which you will be able to go home.

 

During low-dose brachytherapy, a low dose of radiation is released into the body over a longer period of time. Radioactive material is inserted into the body, sometimes by means of a surgical procedure. After a few days, the radioactive material is removed from the body.