Brachytherapy, also known as internal radiation, is a medical procedure employed in the treatment of certain types of cancer and other medical conditions. It entails the placement of radioactive material inside the body. In contrast, external radiation, a more commonly used method, involves the use of a machine that moves around the patient to direct radiation beams at specific points on the body.
Brachytherapy offers the advantage of delivering higher radiation doses compared to external radiation. This is achievable because brachytherapy delivers radiation directly to the treatment area, reducing the risk of harming surrounding healthy tissue.
One notable benefit of brachytherapy is the potential for shorter overall treatment times. This is made possible because larger radiation doses can be safely administered in a single session.
Brachytherapy treatments come in various forms with differences in radiation strength (dosage) and treatment duration. It is crucial to follow the instructions provided by your radiation oncologist regarding safe interactions with others if you are undergoing brachytherapy.
There are three main types of brachytherapy implants:
Brachytherapy is most effective for cancer cases in which metastasis, the spread of cancer throughout the body, has not occurred. It is particularly well-suited for treating localized tumors, those confined to a specific area of the body, as it can successfully eradicate them.
Brachytherapy is used to treat different kinds of cancer. These includes the following:
Brachytherapy has potential negative effects, just like any other cancer treatment. Once therapy is stopped, the majority of adverse effects go away, but some are long-lasting or don’t show up right away. Before beginning therapy, inquire with the healthcare provider about potential risks related to brachytherapy.
The type of cancer and the type of brachytherapy the patient receives will determine the potential adverse effects, as brachytherapy focuses radiation in a limited treatment area. A few months after treatment ends, adverse indicators usually get better.
The following risk includes the following:
Typically, the bodily part where the implant is located experiences side effects. For instance, a patient with a prostate gland seed implant might not get mouth sores or hair loss, but they might have erectile dysfunction, exhaustion, and/or urinary and/or bowel problems.
The healthcare provider will advise the patient on how to get ready. They might have to:
The procedure is dependent upon the type of cancer, the location of the implants, and the type of brachytherapy (HDR, LDR, or permanent):
The patient will be given medication to keep them comfortable throughout the entire process. A sedative and anesthetic may be administered to the patient in order to alleviate their pain. Once they are comfortable, their healthcare provider will:
The patient will be given medications to help with any discomfort that might occur after the catheter or applicator device is removed.
Following treatment, the patient might need to restrict their activities and receive more rest. Patient should follow the instructions provided by the healthcare provider to ensure it is safe to resume the regular activities.
Patients undergoing persistent brachytherapy should diligently adhere to their healthcare provider’s guidance regarding safe social interactions. In cases where brachytherapy may potentially expose others to radiation over a period of several weeks or months, it is essential to follow these recommendations. Even if the risk of exposure is minimal, the healthcare provider’s advice should be heeded, especially with regard to limiting interactions with young children and expectant mothers.
Brachytherapy is an effective treatment option for certain cancer types, particularly those that have not metastasized or spread to other areas of the body. As the radiation exits the body, most of the adverse side effects tend to improve.
If the patient experiences any of the following symptoms when receiving treatment, they should contact their healthcare provider:
+66 2066 8888