Because cancer often affects organs and other essential structures, it is important for radiation treatment to be tightly focused on tumors to minimize serious side effects.
Low-dose brachytherapy ensures the maximum radiation dose is given to cancerous tissues, while minimizing exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue. In order to attack the tumor from inside the body, implants are used that can help slow the growth of a tumor. Brachytherapy can also help relieve pain and other symptoms caused by the tumor.
How does low-dose brachytherapy work?
In low-dose brachytherapy, special applicators (catheters or soft tubes) are placed near the site of the tumor. Once the catheters are in place, nonradioactive wires are put into the catheters. These wires keep the catheters open and allow them to be seen on an X-ray after surgery. The catheters do not contain any radioactive sources at the time of surgery. The radioactive sources will be placed (or loaded) several hours or days after surgery in your hospital room. When loading is done in this manner, it is called “after loading.”
Certain safety precautions must be followed by you, your visitors and hospital staff while your radioactive implants are in place. These precautions are necessary to ensure as little radiation exposure as possible. Your nurse or physician will provide additional safety information for you and your visitors.