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Brachytherapy involves placing radiation sources (usually tiny pellets the size of pencil leads) inside and adjacent to a cancer, or inside an area that may contain residual cancer after surgical removal of the visible tumor mass.

The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center offers high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy as a treatment option for patients with breast cancer, cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer and sarcoma.

This advanced technique allows high-dose radiation to be administered internally within a cavity or tissue in the body, as opposed to treatment with an external beam. A radioactive seed placed in or near the tumor allows:

  • Radiation to be delivered in a precise, three-dimensional manner while reducing the radiation exposure in the surrounding healthy tissues.
  • Shorter total treatment times.
  • Minimal side effects are minimal.

Many different catheter (plastic tube) systems for brachytherapy treatment are available through the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center, including:

  • Multiple Catheter Brachytherapy.
  • SAVI® Brachytherapy.
  • Contura® Balloon Catheter.
  • MammoSite® Balloon.

Brachytherapy for Breast Cancer

Breast brachytherapy is a five-day radiation therapy alternative for women with early-stage breast cancer. The preferred treatment for early-stage breast cancer is usually surgical removal of the cancerous lump (lumpectomy) followed by radiation therapy to the breast, which can eliminate the invisibly small deposits of cancer that can remain in the breast after lumpectomy.

While traditional external beam radiation therapy is safe and very effective, it can take more than six weeks of daily treatment. Breast brachytherapy is an accelerated five-day treatment for selected patients with early-stage breast cancer. This technique treats a much smaller volume of breast and other tissues and avoids treating the breast skin with radiation.

Radiation oncology services are offered at various locations throughout HonorHealth. To learn more or to find a location nearest you, please contact a cancer care coordinator at 480-323-1255 or 877-273-3639.