BRACHYTHERAPY

Precise radiation therapy with fewer side effects.

Brachytherapy

How brachytherapy works

Brachytherapy is a cancer treatment option that uses radioactive material inside the body to directly treat the tumor or tumor site while also protecting healthy tissue. Brachytherapy differs from traditional radiation treatment, which uses technology to "shoot" radiation into the body from the outside. 

This treatment allows the team to use more intense radiation safely and in a shorter — and more convenient — course of treatment. It is a type of internal radiation. However, brachytherapy is not for everyone or all types of cancers. Brachytherapy is often used along with external radiation treatment.

Legacy Cancer Institute has the longest experience in the region with brachytherapy, treated the most people and has had many years of exceptional outcomes for them.

Benefits of brachytherapy

  • Less exposure to radiation
  • Shorter treatment time
  • Reduced side effects
  • Improved cosmetic outcomes     

Brachytherapy to treat breast cancer

Brachytherapy for breast cancer is a form of accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI). APBI is a type of radiation therapy that shoots a high dose of radiation directly at the tumor. It may cause less damage to normal tissue and kill more tumor cells. Since it focuses radiation on a smaller area, it is a good alternative to standard radiation therapy for those with early stage breast cancers that show no evidence of having spread.

As with most treatments, brachytherapy has both positive and negative aspects. It is more invasive than standard radiation therapy and is not appropriate for everyone.
 

Brachytherapy to treat prostate cancer

Prostate brachytherapy is an excellent alternative to surgery or external radiation treatments. Brachytherapy offers a lower risk of incontinence and impotence in prostate cancer patients. It is an outpatient procedure, where tiny capsules (seeds) of radioactive material are placed throughout the prostate. They give off radiation over time to kill the prostate cancer and then become inactive.

Brachytherapy to treat gynecological cancers

Brachytherapy for cervical, ovarian, uterine and vaginal cancers is a form of accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI). APBI is a type of radiation therapy that shoots a high dose of radiation directly at the tumor.APBI may cause less damage to normal tissue and kill more tumor cells. Since APBI focuses radiation on a smaller area, it is a good alternative to standard radiation therapy for those with early stage cancers that show no evidence of having spread.

As with most treatments, brachytherapy has both positive and negative aspects. It is more invasive than standard radiation therapy and is not appropriate for everyone.

What happens next

Many cancer treatments can cause challenging side effects. Your cancer team is dedicated to helping you manage these issues in the best ways possible.

Like other types of radiation therapy, brachytherapy can cause side effects. You may experience fatigue (feeling exhausted and worn out). Other side effects depend on what part of the body is treated. Common side effects for prostate treatment include bowel, urinary and erection issues. Work with your cancer team to look for ways to manage side effects.

To see how well your treatment is working, some of the tests used to diagnose and stage your cancer may be repeated. Your doctor uses these tests to decide whether to stop, change or continue treatment based on the results. The tests can also determine if cancer has returned.

Whenever possible, we work to stop cancer. But when we can’t, we can often control it for a better quality of life, often called palliative care.
 

Working together for you

Our cancer experts work together with a common goal: delivering the right care for you.

A range of specialists collaborate regularly in meetings called tumor boards to discuss the best plan for your care. Your treatment plan is made just for you, depending on your general health, your age, your particular cancer and its growth.

 

More support

You are not alone. Legacy offers support throughout your cancer journey, as well as care for your emotional, social and spiritual needs.

Nurse navigators
Legacy Cancer Healing Center 
Support groups and classes
Cancer rehabilitation 
Survivorship services

Explore brachytherpay

For more information, please call 503-413-7135. A physician referral is required for consultation and treatment.
 

Meet our providers

Mark Schray, M.D.
Misa Lee, M.D.