Brachytherapy is a form of radiation treatment where a radioactive seed is placed in direct contact with the tumor, or areas at risk once the tumor is removed post-surgery. Currently at Wake Forest Baptist’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, HDR brachytherapy is used for treatment of various cancers, including prostate, breast, lung, cervical and nasopharynx.

Integrated Brachytherapy Unit (IBU) is a concept that integrates all aspects of brachytherapy treatment. All the steps in radiation treatment can be completed in a single, shielded room, including patient preparation, applicator insertion, imaging, treatment planning, delivery and verification. Benefits of this approach include reducing the overall treatment time for each patient, as well as better control of the entire process by our team of experienced radiation oncologists.

Brachytherapy Advanced Features

  • Rotating system enables unobstructed X-ray imaging from all possible directions without moving the patient. This is particularly important for patients with lung and esophageal cancers who cannot lay flat of their back.

  • Selection of different viewing angles improves reconstruction and treatment planning accuracy.

  • Image data, position and angles of rotation are digitally transferred straight into treatment planning software for 3-D reconstruction purposes. This helps for better planning of the treatment.

The major advantage of HDR brachytherapy is that the final doses are known before any radiation treatment is given. Because the patient and implant position is the same as when the treatment plan was devised, the doses are accurate.

Because of the high radioactivity, the treatment time is minutes, so there is little opportunity for the implant to move and deposit radiation doses where it wasn’t intended.

HDR brachytherapy treatment courses can be from one to 10 treatments, depending on the type of cancer being treated. There are many factors your physician will consider in determining the radiation dose, and how many treatments an implant should receive.