This is the term used to describe the use of radioactive materials in the treatment of cancer. The radioactive material is placed inside the patient for a set amount of time. The word comes from Greek and means ‘short-distance treatment’. Brachytherapy delivers radiation very close to the tumour, thereby minimising the exposure of healthy tissues. In our department, two types of brachytherapy are used. High dose rate (HDR) treatment for gynaecological cancers, involving the temporary insertion of iridium-192 and the surgical insertion of iodine-125 ‘seeds’ for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Below is a photograph showing our HDR microSelectron used to deliver certain types of brachytherapy treatment.