Brachytherapy is the placement of radioactive sources into or near a cancer. These are often called “implants”, though some are temporary and some are permanent. It carries the advantage of allowing precise placement of the actual radiation source so close (or even into) the tumor, giving the radiation oncologist the opportunity to administer a high dose of radiation to eradicate the cancer.
There are two main types of brachytherapy — Low Dose Rate (LDR) and High Dose Rate (HDR) Implants. Implants are uses in the treatment of Breast, Prostate, and GYN malignancies.
The prostate implant procedure is a same day, outpatient procedure, where seeds are paced permanently into the prostate gland, performed in a joint procedure with your Urologist. Approximately 70-100 very small, radioactive seeds are placed into the prostate under ultrasound and fluoroscopic guidance. This is a very precise and effective way to treat prostate cancer, either with a seed implant alone or with a combination of external beam treatments and seed implant.
We are also able to provide HDR brachytherapy for the management of breast cancer, to facilitate breast conservation with the use of (APBI) or accelerated partial breast irradiation. This is accomplished as an outpatient over the course of 1 week.
Historically for cervical and endometrial cancers, patients required inpatient stay for implants. We now use HDR brachytherapy technology to perform GYN implants for outpatients, improving convenience and overall patient experience.
Depending on the type of brachytherapy you receive, you may need to take some precautions after you leave your treatment, particularly if you plan to be around young children or pregnant women. Ask your doctors or nurses about anything special you should know.