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What is Brachytherapy? How does it help in Cancer Treatment?

What is Brachytherapy? How does it help in Cancer Treatment?

Brachytherapy is an advanced cancer treatment. It is one type of Radiation Therapy used for cancer treatment. This radiation therapy uses a sort of energy called as Ionizing Radiation which helps in killing cancer cells and shrinks the cancer tumors.

How do Brachytherapy works?

Using Brachytherapy, Radioactive sources are inserted into the patient’s body either temporarily or permanently depending on the patient’s cancer stage and health condition.

This radiation damages the DNA of the cancer-causing cells destroys them completely and prevents them from dividing and growing into multiple.

High dose brachytherapy for prostate cancer

Types of Brachytherapy Treatments:

Brachytherapy might be temporary or permanent which is purely depends on the patient’s cancer condition.

  • Temporary Brachytherapy: In this temporary brachytherapy, one type of highly radioactive material is placed inside a catheter or a slender tube for the required amount of time and then withdrawn from it. This therapy can be performed at a low-dose-rate (LDR) or high-dose-rate (HDR).
  • Permanent Brachytherapy: This is also called as Seed Implantation. This process involves radioactive seeds or pellets which are usually in the size of rice grains are placed either near to the tumor or inside it permanently. In a few months, this seed diminishes the radioactive levels of the implants to zero. The remaining inactive seeds present in the body will not harm or generate any sort of side-effects to the patient.

What types of cancer does Brachytherapy treat?

  • Prostate cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Gynecologic Cancers
  • Anal/Rectal tumors
  • Sarcomas
  • Head and neck cancers
  • Cervix Cancer
  • Skin Cancer
  • Uterus and Vagina Cancers
  • Eye Cancer

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of Brachytherapy?

Advantages of Brachytherapy:

  • Benefits of Brachytherapy vary from patient to patient depending on the severity of the health issue and cancer stage and type of the cancer patient suffering with.
  • The biggest advantage of Brachytherapy is it has high effectiveness in its treatment.

Disadvantages of Brachytherapy:

  • The radiotherapy will have side-effects from lasting for short-time to get severe minor and major health issues.
  • The radiation affects the area where the treatment is performed and around the tumor.
  • The side-effects are different for different cancer types.
  • The dosage of the treatment and the radiation level also shows different effects on various body parts.

Equipment’s used in Brachytherapy:

In permanent Implant procedure, radioactive materials which are enclosed in seeds or pellets are used to insert in the tumor.

In temporary Implant procedure, needles, plastic catheters or other specialized applicators are placed in the treatment area.

Procedure before Brachytherapy:

Patient’s physical examination is a must before the therapy and here is the list of major tests required for the observation of the cancer therapy.

Along with these, a special preparation for a patient is prescribed prior to the start of the brachytherapy treatment to make them ready physically and mentally for the treatment procedure.

When does Patient receive Brachytherapy?

Doctors use a higher dose of radiation therapy to treat any part of the body in a lesser time. The treatment process, duration and the treatment type will be decided by the doctor depending on the patients’ health condition, cancer stage, and other health issues.

What is the success rate of Brachytherapy?

According to the Cancer Study Research Centers around the globe, it has been proved that the success rate of Brachytherapy in low-risk patients is increased by 95% compared with high-risk patients.

The survival rate is in the range of 75-90% among both men and women. The success rate in men and women are less varied and almost equal in recent years.

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