Brachytherapy

Benefit from a targeted, advanced cancer treatment known as brachytherapy at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.

What’s brachytherapy?

Brachytherapy is also known as internal radiation therapy. This procedure places small amounts of radioactive material near or inside a tumor in the body.

Types of brachytherapy

Your doctor may recommend either permanent or temporary brachytherapy. The option that’s right for you depends on the type of cancer you have, tumor size, and other factors.

Common types of cancer treated

Brachytherapy can help quickly treat a small area with a precise dose of radiation. Your oncologist may recommend brachytherapy to treat:

Permanent brachytherapy (seed therapy)

Permanent brachytherapy is also called seed therapy or seed implantation. This treatment uses radioactive seeds, each about the size of a grain of rice. Your doctor implants the seeds in or near the tumor to treat it with a high dose of radiation.

The seeds stay in the body permanently (forever). After several weeks, the seeds will become less radioactive and have little lasting effect on your health.

What to expect

During your procedure, your doctor will use a needle to implant the radioactive seeds. To make sure the seeds are in the best place, your doctor will use imaging technology, such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan to guide the needle.

This procedure is usually an outpatient treatment, which means you visit the facility for care and go home afterward. But you may need to stay in the hospital overnight.

After the procedure

You may have some swelling and mild discomfort after the procedure. Avoid contact with children and pregnant women for several weeks. Ask your care team when you can resume your normal activities.

Temporary brachytherapy

Temporary brachytherapy places radioactive implants in the tumor for treatment and then removes them after a certain amount of time.

What to expect

To help you feel comfortable and stay still during the procedure, you may receive:

  • General anesthesia – Causes you to sleep and not remember the procedure
  • Sedative medication – Helps you relax

During the treatment, a delivery device such as a catheter (long, thin tube), needle, or another tool will go in or near the tumor. Your doctor will use imaging technology to guide the catheter and make sure the radioactive implants are in the best place for treatment. You’ll most likely stay overnight in the hospital so your care team can monitor the dose of radiation you receive.

After the Procedure

When the radioactive materials and any delivery devices are removed, you’ll be able to go home. Follow your care team’s instructions on taking care of yourself and attend a follow-up appointment scheduled four to six weeks after your procedure.

Schedule your orientation

Call (831) 625-4630, Ext. 2438, to make an appointment for radiation therapy orientation. During orientation, you’ll:

  • Learn about what to expect during radiation therapy
  • Get answers to your questions
  • Tour the radiation therapy area
  • Meet our staff

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