Breast Brachytherapy is a type of radiotherapy which is performed after a lumpectomy. Like a lumpectomy, it is another good option in the breast conserving approach to breast cancer treatment.
How it Works for Patients
After a lumpectomy, a device composed of flexible tubes (known as a “catheter”) is inserted by a surgeon into the breast into the area previously occupied by the breast cancer. One or two days after the catheter is placed, a simulation is done to precisely plan the treatments with a CT scan.
Breast Brachytherapy involves a series of targeted treatments where a small radioactive seed travels from an HDR machine and into the catheter. It treats the breast from the inside. Breast Brachytherapy treats only the lumpectomy cavity and a small surrounding buffer of tissue. The intent of these treatments is to kill any remaining cancer cells that may be remaining in the cavity.
Breast Brachytherapy is completed over a short period of time and treats only part of the breast. For this reason, breast brachytherapy may also be referred to as “Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation.”
Advantages of HDR Brachytherapy for Patients
- Short course of treatment (1-5 days)
- No need for hospital stay
- Fewer side effects
- Excellent coverage of possible microscopic extension of tumor
- Accurate and precise radiation delivery
- Less areas of radiation overdose or underdose