Brachytherapy and Implants

What is brachytherapy?

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.

Advantages of brachytherapy

Compared to external beam radiotherapy, there is less damage to healthy tissues as the radiation source is placed in or near the tumour.

Disadvantages of brachytherapy

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.

Types of brachytherapy implants

In general, there are 3 types of brachytherapy implants:

  1. High-dose-rate brachytherapy implants. These implants discharge high doses of radiation for 10 – 20 minutes and are removed thereafter. The length and frequency of treatment vary.
  2. Low-dose-rate brachytherapy implants. These implants emit low levels of radiation over time. You will typically be warded during the treatment session.
  3. Permanent brachytherapy implants. These small implants (also called seed implants) are left in the body and emit low doses of radiation over time until they are spent.

Why do you need brachytherapy?

Brachytherapy is used to treat cancers, such as:

Brachytherapy is a preferred treatment for:

  • Uterine cancer
  • Certain forms of prostate or cervical cancer
  • Patients who are at risk of recurring tumours in the upper vagina after a hysterectomy...

What are the risks and complications of brachytherapy?

Implants used to treat:

Why choose Parkway East Hospital?

Located on the eastern coast of Singapore, Parkway East Hospital's multidisciplinary team delivers a comprehensive range of cancer treatments.

Working with modern technologies and proven innovative therapies we strive to achieve optimal clinical outcomes for our patients.

Find doctors from our allied hospitals

We offer a full spectrum of healthcare services under IHH Healthcare Singapore.
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