Brachytherapy, also known as internal radiation therapy, utilizes radiation implants placed inside the body. Using on-site computers to create individualized treatment plans, physicians place radioactive seeds, containing isotopes, in or near the tumor with catheters or needles. As the isotopes decay naturally, they give off radiation, damaging nearby cancer cells.
After a few weeks or months, the isotopes decay completely and stop giving off radiation. The seeds remain in the body but cause no harm. This advanced procedure delivers a high dose of radiation directly to the tumor while reducing exposure to surrounding tissue.
Through internal brachytherapy, it is often possible to deliver larger doses of radiation to a tumor than external-beam irradiation with less damage to normal tissue. However, external-beam radiation is often utilized together with brachytherapy to treat certain cancers.
Precise real-time tracking of the prostate through seed implantation during radiation treatments at Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care greatly improves patient outcomes. See how prostate seed implantation can help.