Unlike external beam therapy (EBT), in which high-energy x-ray beams generated by a machine are directed at the tumour from outside the body, brachytherapy involves placing a radioactive material directly inside the body. Brachytherapy, also called internal radiation therapy, allows a physician to use a higher total dose of radiation to treat a smaller area and in a shorter time than is possible with external radiation treatment. Brachytherapy is used to treat cancer throughout the body, including Prostate, Head and Neck, Breast, Uterus, Cervix, Ovary, Gallbladder.
In temporary brachytherapy, the radioactive material is placed inside or near a tumour for a specific amount of time and then withdrawn. Temporary brachytherapy can be administered at a low-dose rate (LDR) or high-dose rate (HDR). Permanent brachytherapy, also called seed implantation, involves placing radioactive seeds or pellets (about the size of a grain of rice) in or near the tumour and leaving them there permanently. After several weeks or months, the radioactivity level of the implants eventually diminishes to nothing. The seeds then remain in the body, with no lasting effect on the patient. If you require brachytherapy treatment, a detailed information leaflet will be given to you by the radiotherapy team.