A More Direct Way to Treat Breast Cancer
"Brachytherapy" comes from a Greek root meaning "from a short distance." It is the practice of treating cancer by placing a radioactive source(s) directly into the cancer tissue. Breast Brachytherapy can be done either by placing multiple flexible plastic catheters into or around the cancer area, or with a new FDA approved device called a Mammosite, catheter, which is a balloon inserted directly into the cavity where the lump used to be.
When multiple catheters are placed around the tumor cavity, a single radioactive source steps along the inside of each catheter treating the area at risk from the inside out. With the Mammosite, balloon, this same high activity radioactive source stops at a single position within the center of the catheter's inflated balloon, again radiating the area at risk from the inside out.
Both of these treatments are forms of High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy, which does not leave the radiation in the tissues permanently. HDR brachytherapy uses a single very intense Iridium192 source to deliver the needed dose at a very high rate and in a very short time. Breast brachytherapy gives two radiation treatments per day over 5 consecutive days. The two daily treatments are separated by 6 hours, and are done on an outpatient basis. Each treatment lasts only a few minutes. Brachytherapy delivers in just 5 days the same highly effective radiation dose given in 7 weeks with external beams.
For more information about brachytherapy, visit www.gammawest.com. Or call 801-350-8400.