Brachytherapy is when radioactive "seeds" or "sources" are placed inside, or next to, a tumour.
We use brachytherapy to treat many types of cancer. The sources, or seeds, give radiation directly to the tumour. This makes sure that surrounding healthy tissues gets as low a radiation dose as possible.
We may leave the radioactive sources in your body permanently or we may take them out. It depends on your type of tumour. For all types of brachytherapy, very little radiation leaves your body.
Brachytherapy may affect fewer healthy cells. This may lead to fewer side effects for you. The side effects depend on what part of your body is treated. You may have brachytherapy alone or with external beam radiation.
We plan brachytherapy using an ultrasound, CT or MRI scan. The radiation oncologist will use the scan to see how much radiation you need and where to put the radioactive sources.
When you get brachytherapy, you will likely need general anesthetic (we will "put you under"). However, this is usually an outpatient procedure (you do not need to stay in the hospital overnight).
If you want more information on prostate brachytherapy, watch the videos below. These are not official BC Cancer patient education videos. Even though BC Cancer oncologists are in the videos. We thank the creators of these videos for sharing the content.
The 5 most important things to know about recovering from brachytherapy featuring Dr. Michael McKenzie