Brachytherapy is a medical term that refers to internal radiation therapy. It is one of several types of radiation therapy used to treat cancer.
Brachytherapy refers to various procedures that place radioactive material inside your body. It is not as common as external radiation, where a machine sends radiation beams into the body.
For certain types of cancer, brachytherapy is as effective as - or more effective than - external treatments. It may be completed in less time. In some cases, brachytherapy is combined with external radiation therapy.
During brachytherapy, you’ll receive a permanent or temporary implant containing radioactive material. There are many types of implants, including seeds, wires and balloons. Your implant will be placed inside, or next to, your tumor.
Mercy offers two main types of brachytherapy:
The type of brachytherapy you'll need depends on several factors. These include the size and location of your tumor, and whether you're also undergoing other cancer treatments (like chemotherapy or surgery).
All types of radiation therapy kill cancer cells. But brachytherapy offers several advantages. These include:
Your Mercy care team will make sure you understand what to expect before, during and after brachytherapy treatment. For example:
If you have questions or concerns about brachytherapy, please talk to one of your Mercy caregivers. We'll help you understand your options and make decisions best suited to your condition.