Brachytherapy (or “internal radiation therapy”) is another form of radiotherapy and is an advanced treatment for cancer diseases that involves placing seeds or radioactive sources in or near the tumour, which deliver a high dose of radiation into the tumour volume while reducing radiation exposure to healthy tissue. The term “brachy” comes from the Greek language and means “short distances”. Thus, brachytherapy is radiotherapy delivered at a short distance: localised, precise and high-tech.
Brachytherapy can be used in several types of cancer, such as:
At Amethyst, our radiotherapists focus on treating the gynaecological area with brachytherapy. Brachytherapy can be done on an outpatient basis for the gynaecological area and does not require any surgery. In contrast, brachytherapy to treat breast cancer, for example, requires the placement of applicators delivering radiation inside the breast after mastectomy, and this procedure involves surgery.
At Amethyst, intracavitary brachytherapy, HDR type, is performed in short sessions of 2-4 minutes depending on the type of treatment, i.e. curative or post-operative/neo-adjuvant.
The Flexitron treatment device, is a remote-controlled high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy machine equipped with an encapsulated radioactive source containing the radioisotope Iridium 192. The radioactive source is placed into the tumour volume via transfer tubes that connect to the treatment facility and the location-specific applicator set. The positions and dwell times of the radioactive source required to achieve optimal dose distribution are calculated with the Oncentra computerised treatment planning system.
Benefits of brachytherapy: