Brachytherapy also referred to as internal radiation,
Patients may receive brachytherapy on its own or in combination with other cancer treatments.
A doctor may recommend brachytherapy in various instances, such as:
- Initial treatment for low-grade cancer that is located exclusively in the prostate gland
- Initial treatment for cancer that has moved outside the prostate gland and into nearby tissues
- Cancer has not been completely eliminated
- Cancer recurs in the prostate following surgery
- Cancer is in an advanced stage; in this instance, brachytherapy may help a patient alleviate or prevent cancer symptoms
What are the benefits of Brachytherapy?
Brachytherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that may offer a quicker recovery period, less time in a hospital, and a limited risk of postoperative infection in comparison to other cancer treatments.
Plus, brachytherapy has been shown to help prostate cancer patients reduce the risk of impotence and incontinence that are commonly associated with radical prostatectomy.
What are the treatment types?
Permanent (Low Dose Rate):
Involves the use of pellets (seeds) of radioactive material that are inserted into the skin via thin needles.
The seeds travel a short distance and transmit radiation to a small area, thereby limiting the risk of damage to nearby tissues.
Continue Reading about Low Dose...
Low-dose-rate brachytherapy involves the use of a continuous low dose of radiation that is released over several hours or days. A patient typically stays in a hospital while the radiation is in place, and the radioactive material is administered by hand or machine.
Also, brachytherapy devices may be used during treatment, and a patient may require anesthesia or sedation to reduce discomfort. A patient will likely stay in a private room during low-dose-rate brachytherapy, as there is a small risk that the radioactive material inside his or her body may harm others.
Temporary (High Dose Rate):
Involves the use of high doses of radiation that remain in place for a short period of time. Temporary brachytherapy patients receive radiation via hollow needles.
Each treatment lasts between 5 and 15 minutes, and patients may receive several short treatments over a few days.