brachytherapy genesis cancer care

What is brachytherapy?

Brachytherapy involves radiation delivered from a tiny source implanted directly into or next to the tumour.

These sources produce gamma-rays, which have the same effect on cancer cells as X-rays.

This treatment reduces damage to surrounding healthy tissue, limiting side effects.

Several brachytherapy techniques are used in cancer treatment.

  • Interstitial brachytherapy - uses a radiation source placed within tumour tissue, such as within a prostate tumour
  • Intracavitary brachytherapy - uses a source placed within a surgical cavity or a body cavity, such as the chest cavity, near a tumour
  • Episcleral brachytherapy - used to treat melanoma inside the eye, using a source that is attached to the eye

In brachytherapy, radioactive isotopes are sealed in tiny pellets or “seeds.”

These seeds are placed using delivery devices, such as needles, catheters, or some other type of carrier.

The isotopes then decay naturally, giving off radiation that damages nearby cancer cells.

After a few weeks or months, the isotopes decay completely and no longer give off radiation.

The seeds won’t cause harm if they are left in the body.

Brachytherapy may be able to deliver higher doses of radiation to some cancers than external beam radiation therapy – while causing less damage to normal tissue.

There are two main types of brachytherapy: low dose rate (LDR) and high dose rate (HDR).

Low dose rate brachytherapy

Low dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy can be thought of as ‘take-away’ radiation.

In this therapy, small radioactive ‘seeds’ are implanted near or in the tumour.

These stay permanently in place, releasing small amounts of radiation over several weeks or months.

Most commonly in Australia and New Zealand, this technique is used for treating primary prostate cancers.

Men can get back to their usual activities within a day or two of having the ‘seeds’ inserted.

In low-dose-rate treatment, cancer cells receive continuous low-dose radiation from the source over a period of several days.

High dose rate brachytherapy

High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy is similar to LDR brachytherapy, but the delivery is a bit different.

Instead of staying in the body permanently, the radioactive sources are removed at the end of each treatment session.

Also, the radiation sources deliver a more intense dose of radiation during each session (usually 1-3 sessions).

HDR brachytherapy is used for high-risk but localised prostate cancers and gynaecological cancers, among others.

It is often given with external beam radiation therapy to provide a “boost” of radiation to a tumour while sparing surrounding normal tissue.

During treatment, a robotic machine attached to delivery tubes placed inside the body guides one or more radioactive sources into or near a tumour. It then removes the sources at the end of each treatment session.

High-dose-rate treatment can be given in one or more treatment sessions.

hospital side effect cancer genesis cancer care

WHAT IS RADIATION THERAPY?
Radiation therapy uses radiation to kill or damage cancerous (abnormal) cells and stop them from growing and multiplying.

It is one of the best-established, most effective and well tolerated therapies for treating almost all cancers, extending lives, and reducing suffering.
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TREATMENT TYPES
Radiation therapy can be delivered:

From a machine outside of the body – this is called external-beam radiation therapy

By placing radioactive material inside the body – this is known as brachytherapy
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RADIATION THERAPY EXTERNAL BEAM
External beam radiation therapy, the radiation oncology team uses a machine called a linear accelerator, or linac.

A linac uses electricity to form a stream of fast-moving subatomic (electron) particles. This creates high-energy radiation that is used to kill cancerous cells.
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STEREOTACTIC (SABR, SRS, GAMMA)
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) delivers high doses of radiation with sub millimetre precision positioning. It is often used to treat small tumours with well-defined edges.

It is most commonly used to treat primary brain or spinal tumours – as well as secondary brain tumours.
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BRACHYTHERAPY
Brachytherapy involves radiation delivered from a tiny source implanted directly into or next to the tumour.

These sources produce gamma-rays, which have the same effect on cancer cells as X-rays.
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  • TREATMENT TYPES Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed in nisl ac lacus iaculis iaculis a in elit.
  • RADIATION THERAPY EXTERNAL BEAM Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed in nisl ac lacus iaculis iaculis a in elit.
  • STEREOTACTIC (SABR, SRS, GAMMA) Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed in nisl ac lacus iaculis iaculis a in elit.
  • BRACHYTHERAPY