Brachytherapy is a type of radiation therapy in which radiation is delivered from a source inside the body. This is in contrast to external beam radiation therapy, in which the radiation is aimed at a tumor from an external machine.
Brachytherapy implants are often referred to as seeds. These seeds can be inserted for a short period of time and removed once the treatment is complete, or they can be left in place after all of the radiation has been released. Many types of tumors respond positively to this form of treatment, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and cervical cancer.
With brachytherapy, radiation oncologists are able to administer a high dose of radiation to a tumor while reducing exposure to the surrounding healthy tissues. This, in turn, can help reduce the side effects that might otherwise occur if healthy cells sustain damage from the radiation. Other advantages of brachytherapy include:
- Shorter courses of treatment. While external beam radiation therapy is often spread out over the course of several weeks or months, a course of internal beam radiation therapy is typically completed within one to five days.
- Fewer trips to physicians’ offices. This is especially true when the implants are left inside a patient’s body after the treatment is finished. Patients will still have follow-up visits and routine monitoring, but typically do not need to see a radiation oncologist multiple times per week (as is generally the case with external beam radiation therapy).
- Shorter recovery times. Although every patient responds differently to treatment, brachytherapy can be less damaging to healthy tissues, allowing for faster recoveries in many situations.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, brachytherapy is one of several advanced treatments provided by our expert radiation oncologists. Each patient’s needs are collaboratively reviewed to determine the best approach to radiation therapy, and every single aspect of a patient’s treatment – from the radiation dosage to the delivery schedule – can be tailored to achieve the best possible outcome. Furthermore, a wide range of supportive care services are also offered at Moffitt, allowing patients to maintain a high quality of life throughout treatment, regardless of which types of treatment they pursue.
Consultations with our radiation oncologists are available with or without referrals. To learn more about brachytherapy or any of our other precisely targeted treatments, call 1-888-MOFFITT or submit a new patient registration form online.