Brachytherapy is derived from the Greek word “brachy,” which means short or small. Brachytherapy uses small radioactive isotopes or seeds placed close to the tumor.
Brachytherapy is a treatment option that uses small radioactive seeds to deliver radiation to tumors. It can deliver radiation either deep within the body (for example, to gynecological and prostate cancers) or to a superficial surface such as the skin.
Our gynecologic, prostate cancer and general brachytherapy programs routinely use real-time guidance via one or more of the following imaging methods, in our state-of-the-art suite:
It can be beneficial whether you have early, intermediate or high-risk disease. It can also be beneficial if you have prostate cancer that recurs after radiation therapy. It can be used with or without external beam radiotherapy.
Implants can be permanent or temporary:
MRI can allow the radiation oncologist to precisely localize tumors within the prostate, so that ablative doses can be given directly to the tumor while sparing surrounding tissues.
Surface applicator brachytherapy can be an excellent treatment option for patients with certain cutaneous malignancies or medically refractory benign conditions. This form of treatment involves creating a customized applicator that is specifically designed to maximize dosimetric coverage to potentially geometrically complex lesions. After CT radiation treatment planning, brachytherapy is then administered through the applicator on an outpatient basis.
Other treatments covered on the general brachytherapy service include coronary artery radiation therapy for in-stent restenosis, brachytherapy for peripheral vascular disease, radioembolization for select liver malignancies, esophageal brachytherapy, and endobronchial brachytherapy.
Our department is constantly exploring innovative uses of advanced technologies to improve patient outcomes with brachytherapy.
Optimizing Brachytherapy Delivery with MRI-Guidance for Gynecologic Cancer
Image-guided brachytherapy for gynecologic cancer offers significant potential to improve tumor control and increase cure rates. CT and MR-based brachytherapy planning also reduces the risk of bladder or bowel toxicity. With MRI guidance at the time of the procedure, we are developing novel methods to track catheter placement and positioning for real-time evaluation of the HDR brachytherapy dose. We are also developing novel MRI sequences to identify residual tumor in collaboration with the Surgical Planning Laboratory within the Advanced Multimodality Image Guided Operating (AMIGO) suite.
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