High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy

HDR Brachytherapy is a powerful form of internally delivered radiation therapy that destroys many types of cancers including skin, cervical, vaginal, and breast. HDR Brachytherapy can be used as a standalone treatment or after a tumor has been surgically removed to eliminate any remaining cancerous cells.

With HDR Brachytherapy, between one and 20 slim plastic tubes called catheters are implanted into the tumor site. During treatment, a computer-controlled machine sends a small radioactive seed down each catheter to deliver radiation at multiple depths and varying times. The overall treatment time at the tumor site is 10 to 20 minutes. The seed is then removed so that no radioactive material remains in the patient’s body. Depending on the type of cancer being treated, a high-dose rate treatment plan may require one session or multiple sessions over a course of up to five days.

In Interstitial HDR Brachytherapy, the radiation is delivered directly into tissue. In Intracavitary HDR Brachytherapy, often used for breast, cervical, and vaginal cancers, the radiation is delivered to the tumor from within the vaginal canal, or the cavity left by the recently removed tumor.

HDR Brachytherapy Benefits

  • Extremely precise radiation therapy delivered internally
  • Used alone or applied after surgery to help prevent recurrence of cancer
  • Convenient treatments
  • Usually pain-free
  • Minimizes risk of common short- and long-term side effects