High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy
Brachytherapy is an internal type of cancer treatment that allows for the radiation source to be inserted into a tumor or directly on top of a tumor depending on the need, and is available at our state-of-the-art Los Angeles treatment facility.
High-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy is a temporary radiation treatment and the amount of time that the radiation source is left in place is determined by the physician, most treatments are usually less than 10 minutes. HDR Brachytherapy is often used in the treatment of:
- Esophagial Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Endometrial Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Vaginal Cancer
Examples of HDR Brachytherapy devices in place:
HDR Brachytherapy For Breast Cancer (SAVI, CONTURA, MAMMOSITE)
Recent studies have shown that partial breast brachytherapy may be an acceptable treatment for early stage breast cancer as opposed to whole breast radiation therapy.
After a lumpectomy is performed by the surgeon and the primary tumor is removed, a balloon catheter device such as SAVI, Contura or MammoSite is placed in the lumpectomy cavity (pictured).
The radiation is delivered through the use of the device twice daily for 5 days for a total of 10 separate radiation sessions on an outpatient basis.
Since the balloon is inside the breast in the location where the tumor was previously located, this delivers radiation to the tumor bed where the tumor is most likely to recur, while minimizing radiation to the rest of the breast tissue.
Studies have shown that the SAVI, Contura and MammoSite partial breast HDR brachytherapy radiation is well-tolerated, with minimal short-term side effects. However, only select patients with small, early stage tumors qualify. Many patients with breast cancer do not qualify for partial breast treatments and require whole breast radiation therapy which is given daily for approximately 5-6 weeks.
HDR Brachytherapy For Uterine Cancers (endometrial Or Cervical)
Brachytherapy is an integral part of the treatment course for many patients with endometrial and cervical cancers. Special devices are placed near the cervix and radiation is given through the use of these devices.
These treatments are usually given on an outpatient basis. The number of sessions varies from 3-5 depending on patient specific circumstances.
Patients are often first treated with pelvic radiation therapy after which time they are treated with HDR brachytherapy. Many patients often receive concurrent chemotherapy during the radiation treatment course.
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