Brachytherapy uses small implants to attack tumors from inside the body.
Brachytherapy is radiation treatment that is given directly into your body. It is placed as close to the cancer as possible. The radiation is given using tiny devices such as seeds filled with radioactive materials. These devices are called implants.
This treatment lets your doctor use a higher total dose of radiation over a shorter time than is possible with external beam therapy. The radiation dose is focused on the cancer cells and does less damage to the nearby normal cells. This treatment may be the primary treatment used for newly diagnosed cancer. It can also be done along with external beam therapy to help destroy tumor cells, in certain cases.
Generally, you will be treated on an outpatient basis when you have brachytherapy. If you have high-dose therapy, you will be in the hospital for a few days. You will need to follow specific rules to protect others from the effects of the radiation while it is active inside your body.
How long the radiation lasts will depend on the type of treatment given. Your health care provider will determine the brachytherapy type based on the type of cancer you have, the location of the cancer and other factors.
If the brachytherapy implant is a low dose implant, it may be left in for several days. High dose implants may be removed after only a few minutes. Some implants are permanent. If you have one, you may need to stay in the hospital for a few days. The radiation gets weaker each day. This means you will most likely be discharged after a few days. There may be certain safety measures to be taken at home. Your health care provider will give you specific instructions, if needed.
Your doctor may remove temporary implants after you have the complete dose of radiation.