Brachytherapy

Sophisticated form of radiation therapy offers modern benefits.

Sharp HealthCare is here to provide you the best care with the efforts of a caring team of professionals. Brachytherapy is one of many options available to you at Sharp. It is a sophisticated form of internal radiation therapy that offers modern benefits.

Brachytherapy is used to treat prostate, breast and cervical cancer at Sharp. Brachytherapy directly targets the cancerous area, protecting surrounding healthy tissue and offering a safe and effective alternative to surgical treatment. In brachytherapy, radiation is positioned inside or next to the tumor, inside your body.

How Is It Performed?
Brachytherapy can be performed permanently or temporarily. With permanent brachytherapy, radioactive seeds are placed in the body by a team of experts trained in this procedure. Sharp radiation oncologists create a personalized treatment plan that will determine how many seeds need to placed to most effectively treat your cancer.

With temporary brachytherapy, radioactive sources are loaded into catheters or cylinders that are positioned inside or near the tumor. This type of brachytherapy is considered high-dose rate (HDR) radiation treatment and is performed on an outpatient basis over several days in the radiation department.

MammoSite or SAVI for Breast Cancer Patients
MammoSite® or SAVI® is a new brachytherapy procedure for breast cancer that offers safe and effective radiation therapy for breast cancer patients in just five days. Although these are effective methods of treatment, there is strict criteria to be a candidate for the procedure. You should consult your physician to determine if this treatment is an option.

  • How is MammoSite or SAVI performed?
    After your surgeon performs a lumpectomy (removal of the breast tumor), he or she will make a small incision in the breast and insert a small, soft MammoSite or SAVI balloon that is attached to a catheter inside the lumpectomy cavity. The balloon is inflated with saline solution so that it fits snugly into the cavity and is secured to a cushioned gauze pad to prevent movement of the catheter and add comfort for the patient. A radiation oncologist utilizes images of the balloon and catheters in the breast to determine the amount of radiation needed. The radiation treatments are delivered twice a day over a consecutive 5-day period for a total of 10 treatments. During each treatment a catheter is attached to the device within the breast for delivery of radiation using a small radioactive seed that remains within the device. Each radiation treatment takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes, as determined by the treatment plan.

Advantages
Brachytherapy offers a short treatment time and no surgery. In addition, this therapy offers:

  •     Preservation of healthy tissue
  •     Quick recovery time
  •     Reduced risk of infection
  •     Short or no hospital stay

Prostate Brachytherapy
Brachytherapy is sometimes used to treat prostate cancer as well. This treatment option is typically an option for men who have early stage prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate and who are unable or unwilling to undergo removal of the prostate or do not want to endure eight weeks of daily radiation treatments. With prostate brachytherapy, radioactive seeds are placed in the prostate in the operating room under general anesthesia. The radiation oncologist utilizes ultrasound images to create a personalized treatment plan to determine the number and position of radioactive seeds. This procedure allows the patient to go home to their family on the same day as the procedure and return to a normal life.

Find a San Diego Oncologist
For more information about cancer services at Sharp HealthCare or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego oncologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.