Targeted Internal Radiation Therapy for Cancer Treatment
Brachytherapy at Loyola Medicine is a minimally invasive cancer treatment that administers radiation to treat cancerous tumors. It delivers a high dose of radiation to your tumor from inside your body, as opposed to external beam radiation from outside your body. This advanced treatment limits radiation exposure to healthy tissue surrounding your tumor.
Brachytherapy can be used alone or with other cancer treatments, such as after cancer surgery or with other types of radiation therapy. Because it does not involve open surgery, brachytherapy allows you to recover faster without staying overnight in the hospital. About five percent of cancer patients are candidates for brachytherapy.
Brachytherapy is used to treat many types of cancers, including:
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Head and neck cancers
- Lung cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Tumors in the extremities
- Uterine cancer
- Vaginal cancer
Why Choose Loyola Medicine for Brachytherapy?
Loyola’s radiation oncologists perform more than 150 brachytherapy procedures annually. This means we have extensive experience using this cancer treatment to remove tumors, reduce cancer symptoms and give you the best possible outcomes.
Loyola also performs an even higher number of prostate brachytherapy procedures, also known as prostate seed implant, a unique treatment where radioactive “seeds” are permanently implanted in the prostate and slowly release radiation to kill your cancer. Learn more about prostate brachytherapy.
What to Expect
How Does Brachytherapy Work?
Most of the time, brachytherapy is given through radiation applicators that are placed within a cavity of the body, such as the lung or uterus. It can be delivered as high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy over several minutes, or as low dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy over two or three days.
Brachytherapy Side Effects
The potential side effects of brachytherapy are specific to the cancer type that is being treated. Since it focuses radiation in a small area, you may experience swelling or tenderness only in the specific treatment area. Ask your Loyola doctor what side effects you can expect.