Brachytherapy (meaning short range treatment) uses radioactive sources to treat malignant tumors and some non-cancerous tumors. For this treatment, radiation oncologists implant a radioactive wire(s) or seeds within or next to the tissues at risk of harboring cancer cells. This generates local regions of high intensity radiation. This very targeted treatment delivers a precise radiation dose very close to the source of the cancer. When surgically placed within the body or organ, the radiation is delivered from the inside out, sparing nearby healthy tissues.
High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy is a minimally invasive procedure often used to treat breast, gynecologic, prostate and other cancers. With this technique, a high dose rate (HDR) radioactive seed is passed through a catheter that has previously been placed in the patient for a short amount of time, typically a few minutes, to deliver the required radiation treatment dose.
The seed position and time can be electronically varied so the dose conforms to the shape of the target, while also preventing unnecessary radiation exposure to surrounding tissues. Therapy can be completed in less time than other radiotherapy techniques, typically 1 to 5 days, with minimal recovery time. This allows patients to get back to their everyday life sooner.
HDR brachytherapy is often used after hysterectomy to decrease risk of vaginal recurrence in higher risk uterine cancer.
Prostate Brachytherapy uses radioactive seed implants to deliver radiation directly into the prostate gland. With our advanced equipment, the required treatment time (about 5 days) is much shorter than with conventional radiation therapy (up to 9 weeks). The radiation is delivered in higher doses than with conventional radiotherapy, which directs beams into the body. If recommended, we can combine prostate seed implants with Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT).
To learn more about brachytherapy at Good Samaritan Hospital, contact us today!