Brachytherapy is a type of radiation therapy used to treat cancer. It involves placing radioactive material inside the patient's body and allows doctors to deliver higher doses of radiation to precise and specific areas of the body as compared to the conventional forms of radiation therapy. The overall treatment time is usually shorter.
Why Brachytherapy is Performed?
Brachytherapy is used to treat cancers of:
head and neck
This therapy can be used singularly or in alliance with other cancer treatments.
How Brachytherapy is Performed?
In High-Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy, thin catheters are placed in the tumour. Catheters are then connected to an HDR afterloader which contains a single highly radioactive iridium pellet at the end of a wire. Pellet is pushed into each of the catheters one by one with the aid of computer control that determines dwell time of pellet in each catheter, its dwell positions and paucity to release its radiation .Thus, with a few well-placed catheters in the tumour, HDR brachytherapy provides a precise line of treatment in only a few couple of minutes. After a series of treatments is over, the catheters are removed, thus leaving no radioactive seeds behind in the body.
What are the Risks of Brachytherapy?
Side effects of brachytherapy are specific to the area being treated like tenderness and swelling in the specific area. Your doctor shall highlight its other limitations.
After the Procedure
Doctor may recommend scans after brachytherapy to evaluate its success.The types of scans you would require undergo will depend on the type and location of cancer.