Brachytherapy Combined with Other Treatments
Learn from Dr. Corradini, an expert at the Hospital of the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, as she shares insights about the brachytherapy process and its use across different cancer types. Discover how this innovative treatment can help avoid invasive surgery, preserve organs, and work effectively alongside radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Dr. Corradini highlights how the procedure has been around for years and is continuously evolving, meaning that risks associated with radiation are minimal for both patients and staff. Watch the video to learn more.
Dr. Stefanie Corradini is a senior physician at LMU-Klinikum in Grosshaden, Munich. She has worked in this hospital since 2008 and has offered brachytherapy there since 2016.
Brachytherapy is An Internal Radiation Therapy.
Brachytherapy, also known as internal radiation therapy, treats cancer and other conditions like heart disease.
Compared to external beam radiation therapy, brachytherapy delivers radiation internally (within the patient's body) and not from the outside (with a machine turning around the patient). This therapy introduces the radioactive material directly into the cancerous cells, enabling the radiation oncologist to irradiate the tumor from within.
The technique is highly accurate, ensuring the preservation of healthy tissue and organs near the tumor site.
How does brachytherapy work in treating cancer?
There are several types of brachytherapy treatments, each with its unique benefit.
Permanent brachytherapy uses implants called pellets or seeds. These implants, as small as a rice grain, are inserted directly into the tumor with thin, hollow needles. The seeds are left in place after the radiation has been used up.
Temporary brachytherapy is, most of the time, interstitial brachytherapy. The technique requires the insertion of thin catheters into the area with cancer, which are then filled with radioactive material. The material is removed when the desired dose is delivered.
Radiation dosage will depend on the treatment protocol but is highly controlled.
HDR (High Dose Rate) brachytherapy can deliver a high radiation dose in short bursts over some time, while LDR (Low Dose Rate) brachytherapy allows the radiation to be delivered at a slower rate.
Dr. Corradini explains that brachytherapy has been performed for many years, proving to be an effective treatment solution for various types of cancer. In addition, it has been refined over time with new technologies; for example, modern brachytherapy takes advantage of several imaging modalities, allowing the therapy to remain current and highly effective.
The advantages of brachytherapy over other treatments.
Brachytherapy can be used to treat a large variety of tumors.
One of the main advantages Dr. Corradini mentions about brachytherapy is that the therapy can treat several types of cancers. As a local treatment, brachytherapy treats only a specific part of your body. It is often used to treat breast cancer, cervical cancer, and skin cancer.
Brachytherapy is known to be painless, with no to little discomfort, as the side effects are minimal.
Most patients describe the procedure as a painless one. They barely have side effects compared to cancer treatments like external beam radiation or chemotherapy.
Brachytherapy is a very precise radiation therapy.
This means a higher radiation dose can be administered without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue. This also explains why patients usually experience fewer side effects than other cancer treatments.
Brachytherapy can help preserve organs or avoid risky surgery
Brachytherapy is also often used if the only surgery possible is very extensive or if, for example, an entire organ needs removing. Brachytherapy treatment is usually a good alternative to extensive surgery that would otherwise require organ removal. In these cases because the oncologists can deliver high-dose radiation and sometimes combine it with previous external radiation. This therapy option takes a long time, sometimes several weeks, even sometimes combined with chemotherapy.
Brachytherapy treatment is a safe and effective therapy used to destroy cancer cells
Generally speaking, radioactivity and radioactive sources are always a bit of a scary subject because it is often related to big radiation accidents or things of that nature. Radiation is also intangible and invisible. Hearing about radiation as a treatment option may be scary for patients. Still, Dr. Corrida wants to reassure everybody: radiation oncologists know exactly what they are doing. Brachytherapy and other radiation treatments are safe for patients, physicians, and other radiation technicians. The radiation dose administered is calculated with precision. Medical physicists always work with oncologists to design a personalized radiation plan for every patient.
Any cancer patient should consider Brachytherapy.
Dr. Corradini highlights the extensive range of treatment options that brachytherapy offers for various cancers, often providing an alternative path to other cancer treatments.
Brachytherapy proves highly effective as it enables direct tumor treatment from within the patient's body, delivering a potent radiation dose while minimizing the risk of adverse effects.
Finding the right physician to establish a strong rapport is crucial due to the potentially long duration of the brachytherapy process. In certain cases, multiple treatments are administered, underscoring the importance of a positive doctor-patient relationship during treatment.