Brachytherapy is a type of cancer treatment where radioactive sources called “seeds” are placed in, or just next to, a tumor. At Astera, our radiation oncologists use special catheters or applicators to accurately position these sources, essential for delivering the planned dose of radiation.
With intracavitary treatment, we place the radioactive sources into a space near the tumor. With interstitial treatment, we place them directly into the cancerous tissues.
HDR & LDR Brachytherapy: Understanding the Difference
There are two main types of brachytherapy: high dose rate (HDR) and low dose rate (LDR). During brachytherapy, the radioactive sources may be left in place permanently (LDR) or only temporarily (HDR), depending upon your individualized treatment plan.
Brachytherapy procedures sometimes require anesthesia and a brief stay in the hospital, when temporary implants are left in the body for several hours or days. But the procedure can often be much faster and more patient-friendly than that.
Effective Treatment for Multiple Cancers. Easier On You.
Useful in the treatment of breast, gynecologic, gastrointestinal and prostate cancers, high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy allows our radiation oncologists to complete the procedure in just 10 – 20 minutes.
We use high-tech devices called “remote afterloading” machines to deliver the radiation sources directly to the tumor via multiple small catheters. By placing seeds containing a high dose of radiation temporarily, we can maximize the anti-cancer effects to the tumor, while limiting exposure to healthy tissue by controlling the duration of exposure.
The afterloader removes the radiation seeds after your short session, and most patients are able to go home shortly after the procedure. Depending on the area treated, you may receive several treatments over a number of days or weeks.