Brachytherapy is a type of radiation therapy that delivers radiation internally, directly to the tumour site, or in close proximity to it. This allows for a more targeted and precise treatment compared to external beam radiation therapy, where radiation is delivered from outside the body. Brachytherapy is commonly used to treat various types of cancers, including prostate, breast, cervical, lung, and skin cancers. The goal of brachytherapy is to destroy cancer cells while minimising damage to surrounding healthy tissues.
Types of Brachytherapy:
There are two main types of brachytherapy:
Temporary Brachytherapy: In this form of brachytherapy, the radioactive sources are temporarily placed inside or near the tumour for a specific duration. After the prescribed treatment period, the sources are removed. This method is commonly used for treating gynaecological, prostate, and breast cancers.
Permanent brachytherapy (also known as seed implantation): In permanent brachytherapy, small radioactive seeds or pellets are permanently implanted in or near the tumour. Over time, the radioactive material in the seeds gradually decays, delivering a continuous low dose of radiation to the tumour. This technique is frequently employed for treating prostate cancer.
Indications and Palliative Therapy Candidates:
Brachytherapy can be used as a curative treatment or as palliative therapy to alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for patients with advanced or metastatic cancer. Palliative brachytherapy is often recommended for patients who are not suitable candidates for surgical removal of the tumour or when surgery is not a viable option. It can effectively alleviate symptoms such as pain, bleeding, and obstruction caused by the tumour, leading to improved comfort and overall well-being.
Preparation for Brachytherapy:
Before undergoing brachytherapy, a thorough evaluation is performed by the healthcare team, including a physical examination, imaging studies, and laboratory tests. The preparation process may involve emptying the bladder or bowels, fasting for a specific period, and administration of anaesthesia or sedation, depending on the procedure.
Procedure of Brachytherapy:
The brachytherapy procedure involves several steps:
Imaging: Prior to the procedure, imaging techniques such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI are used to determine the exact location and size of the tumour.
Placement of Radiation Sources: During the treatment, a specialised applicator or catheter is inserted into or near the tumour site. This applicator serves as a guide for accurately placing the radioactive sources in the desired position.
Radiation Delivery: Once the sources are in place, they emit radiation, targeting the tumour cells. The duration of treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer, and it can range from minutes to days for temporary brachytherapy or permanently for seed implantation.
Risks and Side Effects:
As with any medical procedure, brachytherapy carries potential risks and side effects. Common side effects include fatigue, temporary discomfort at the treatment site, and changes in bowel or bladder function, depending on the location of the treatment. Rare but serious complications may include infection, bleeding, or damage to surrounding organs. However, the benefits of brachytherapy generally outweigh the risks when performed by experienced healthcare professionals.
The cost of brachytherapy can vary depending on the type of cancer, stage of cancer, treatment duration, hospital charges, and geographical location.
Why Choose Max Hospitals for Brachytherapy?
Max Hospitals is a leading healthcare institution that offers state-of-the-art brachytherapy services. Here are some reasons why Max Hospitals is a preferred choice:
Expertise: Max Hospitals has a team of highly skilled radiation oncologists, physicists, and support staff experienced in performing brachytherapy procedures.
Advanced Technology: The hospital is equipped with the latest imaging technology and treatment planning systems to ensure precise and effective brachytherapy delivery.
Comprehensive Care: Max Hospitals provides comprehensive care, from initial evaluation to follow-up, ensuring personalised treatment plans and continuous support for patients.
Multidisciplinary Approach: The hospital follows a collaborative approach involving various specialists, including surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists, to provide holistic cancer care.
If you or a loved one are considering brachytherapy as a cancer treatment option, we invite you to contact Max Hospitals today.