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What Is Brachytherapy?


Brachytherapy is an innovative method to fight cancer. Microsources with a radio charge are introduced into the parenchyma of an organ affected by cancer cells – iodine 125 is involved in this therapy.

High-precision contact with cancerous structures gives surgeons opportunity to safely deliver the maximum amount of radio substance to neighboring tissues. Doctors place a radio source directly in malignant formation, which makes substances to destroy the harmful formation from inside.

When is it prescribed?

  • Brachytherapy for prostate cancer.

A special device is introduced into the prostate gland. It ends with a microsource with a radio substance inserted. The device may be returned immediately after procedure or, if a second procedure is necessary for complete recovery, it remains inside the prostate gland. Irradiation is performed directly on affected tissues, and the person does not experience any uncomfortable feeling.

  • Gynecology – brachytherapy for cervical cancer.

In gynecology, it is applied for a significant spread of metastases, with progressive increase in the inflammatory process and in the terminal stage of pathology development.

In case of gynecological malignant tumors – vaginal, cervix and uterus cancers – intraluminal brachytherapy is prescribed. Endostat is entered into organ cavities, through which radio particles are delivered to tissues affected by formation. It acts directly on tumor’s structure.

Brachytherapy is involved quite often, since in terms of its effectiveness it can be compared with surgical methods, however, preparation, the therapy process itself and rehabilitation take a much shorter time.

Steps of brachytherapy radiation treatment

  1. First, specialists conduct USI in order to determine the size of the tumor and obtain the necessary information to calculate radio substance amount. Using ultrasound scanning, doctors receive several transverse sections of the organ, on which a coordinate grid is then superimposed. Dosis is calculated using a specially designed program – for it, organ images with superimposed coordinate contours are imported into the computer. Inside coordinate grid, the mechanism places radio seeds, distributed in doses in accordance with the degree of aggressiveness of the cells that make up the tumor.
  2. At the second stage, doctors implant radio microsources into organ affected by malignant formation. With a special station, needles are filled with the required amount of substance. Contact of sources with the environment is excluded. To insert needles into the organ, a pre-formed template is used, according to which radio grains are placed and, if necessary, moved. When procedure is carried out, patients are under local anesthesia.

After manipulation, as a rule, people spend another 3-4 days in clinic. In the future, to avoid complications, people should adhere to the following recommendations:

  • maintain physical rest;
  • the patient should temporarily refuse from physiotherapeutic procedures, visits to the sauna, sunbathing, etc. in accordance with the specialists’ recommendations.

As a rule, this process doesn’t cause pain. In particularly complex carcinomas, in brachytherapy for the prostate there may be slight discomfort in areas the tumor is present, and slight redness on the resulting images.

The general period of therapy is 5-7 days. Hospitalization is necessary in any case and with any degree of tumor aggressiveness, since patients need to be immobilized with a mechanized appliance, which will ensure accurate needle penetration into formation cells.

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