Brachytherapy

St. Rita's offers several types of brachytherapy for cancer treatment and is the region's first cancer center to offer these treatment choices to our patients. The word "brachy" is Greek for short. Brachytherapy means placing a radioactive source in close proximity to a tumor.

Prostate Seed Implant (Low Dose Rate (LDR) Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy for prostate cancer involves placing many radioactive seeds into the prostate gland. The procedure is also known as "interstitial seed implantation".

Presently there are two radioactive sources or "isotopes" used for seed implantation. They are Palladium-103 and Iodine-125. Both isotopes are "low-emitting" radioactive material. This means that the majority of emitted radiation (95%) remains within the prostate gland. Your Urologist and Radiation Oncologist will decide, based upon your preliminary studies, which radioactive source will be used for your procedure.

The radioactive seeds are very tiny, about the size of a grain of rice. They are encapsulated in titanium, a metal that is compatible with body tissue.

Once inserted into the prostate tissue, the seeds will remain their permanently. During the first few months following the implantation procedure, the seeds will deliver continuous radiation to the surrounding prostate tissue. The number of seeds placed and the type of seeds used determine the strength and duration of the radiation.

Breast Brachytherapy (High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy for breast cancer involves inserting a radioactive wire into a surgically implanted catheter within the breast lumpectomy cavity. The procedure is known as "intracavitary" HDR.

The HDR system uses a tiny, highly radioactiv3e source of Iridium-192 that is welded to the end of a thin, flexible stainless steel cable. This is called a "source" and is housed in a device called an "after loader". The computer-guided after loader directs the source into the treatment catheter(s) that has been placed in the patient by the brachytherapy physicians. The source travels through each catheter in 5mm steps, called "dwell" positions. The radiation treatment plan is determined by the number of dwell positions the source stops at and the length of time it dwells there.

Breast brachytherapy treatment is typically 10 treatments, with treatments twice a day, at least six hours apart.

Gynecologic Brachytherapy (High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy for gynecological cancer involves inserting a radioactive wire into the vagina. This procedure is known as "intracavitary HDR".

The HDR system uses a tiny, highly radioactive source of Iridium-192 that is welded to the end of a thin, flexible stainless steel cable. This is called a "source" and is housed in a device called an "after loader". The computer-guided after loader directs the source into the treatment cavity that has been placed in the patient by the brachytherapy physicians. The source travels through each catheter in 5mm steps, called "dwell" positions. The radiation treatment plan is determined by the number of dwell positions the source stops at the length of time it dwells there.

Gynecologic brachytherapy treatment is typically 2-4 treatments spaced several days apart. For more information call (419)996-5063.