Brachytherapy, also known as internal radiation, is a type of cancer treatment. It involves implanting a small radioactive pellet or seed inside the body near the tumour. This implant allows higher doses of radiation to be given to specific areas of the body and may cause fewer side effects than conventional external beam radiation therapy.
Brachytherapy implants may be placed inside a body cavity, such as the vagina, or inserted into the tissues using hollow needles. They may be left permanently or removed after some time.
Compared to external beam radiotherapy, there is less damage to healthy tissues as the radiation source is placed in or near the tumour.
Brachytherapy is only suitable for small and accessible tumours such as cervical cancer, which is accessible through the vagina. In addition, you may need to undergo local anaesthetic or general anaesthesia.
For permanent seed implants like prostate cancer implants, you will give off low amounts of radiation and will need to avoid contact with vulnerable people for about 2 months.
In general, there are 3 types of brachytherapy implants:
Brachytherapy is used to treat cancers, such as:
Brachytherapy is a preferred treatment for:
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