Brachytherapy is a special form of internal radiation therapy, where a radioactive source is placed close to or inside the tumour. It is used commonly in Gynaecological cancers such as cervix or endometrial cancers, breast cancer and prostate cancer. This characteristic of the treatment sets it apart from External Beam Radiation Therapy [EBRT], where radiation beams are delivered from outside the body.
The main advantage of brachytherapy is the sharp decrease in dose over a short distance, which allows sparing of the surrounding normal tissues and hence reduction in side effects without compromising the tumour dose. This enables the tumour to receive full dose.
Another advantage for brachytherapy is that since the radioactive sources are placed close to the tumour, they will retain their position in relation to the tumour irregardless if the patient moves or breaths during a treatment procedure. This ensures precise and accurate delivery of the radiation treatment.
Brachytherapy is administered through either a permanent radioactive seed implant (Low Dose Rate “LDR” treatment) or through moving a radioactive source in and/or around the cancer (High Dose Rate “HDR” treatment). With HDR treatment, the radioactive source is retracted out of the body once depositing the prescribed dose by the radiation oncologist.
Our radiation oncologists will discuss which treatment is suitable for you.
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