We all know that there are several types of cancers and various treatment techniques have been developed to cater to them. Brachytherapy is one such treatment that is effective yet minimally invasive. In this, a sealed radioactive material in the form of a seed, pallet, wire or capsule, is implanted using a needle/catheter, in or near the tumor inside the patient’s body.
Brachytherapy is a form of local treatment and is targeted to a specific body part. The benefit of this method is that the implant used for treatment allows a higher dose of radiation to a limited area. At times brachytherapy alone is used to cure cancer while in some cases it is used as a boost following external beam radiotherapy to destroy the remaining cancer cells.
Techniques of Brachytherapy?
Interstitial Brachytherapy: It is used for early breast cancer, head and neck cancer, prostate cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, etc. In this, the radiation source is placed within the tumor.
Intracavitary Brachytherapy: In this, the radiation source is placed inside a body cavity close to the tumor. For example, while treating cervical cancer, the radiation source is placed in the uterine cavity/vagina.
Intraluminal Brachytherapy: It is used in esophageal cancer/anal cancer. In this technique, the radiation source is placed inside a lumen viz. Esophagus.
Catheter/applicator can be placed inside the patient’s body for a few minutes, for some days or for the rest of the life. The duration is entirely based on the type and stage of cancer, the patient’s health, type of radiation source, any past or ongoing cancer treatment of the patient.
Types of Brachytherapy –
Side effects of Brachytherapy –
Certain side effects have been observed by this radiation therapy (depends on which part of the body is getting treated).
Where Brachytherapy is used –
Most commonly Brachytherapy is used in the management of cervical cancer following external beam radiotherapy. Other common uses include prostate cancer, early breast cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, etc.
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