Brachytherapy is a type of a radiotherapy in which a source of radiation is place inside or very close to the area which requires treatment. This type of a treatment is also known as internal radiotherapy, curietherapy or sealed source radio therapy. Brachytherapy is generally used for the treatment of breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer and skin cancer. In several cases, internal radiotherapy is also used for treating many kinds of tumors. The following is some more information on Brachytherapy for breast cancer treatment:
There are two types of Brachytherapy treatment methods:
1. In the first method, multiple catherers are placed into the breast surrounding the area where the tumor or cancer is. In this method, about 10-20 catherers are placed and the positive points associated with this method are that it is very flexible and is also the most used form of treatment for treating breast cancer.
2. In the second method, a single catherer is placed in the breast and this catherer contains a balloon which tends to inflate once it is inside the breast. This balloon is inflated to a diameter of about 2 inches so that it can entirely fill the cavity. This method is not appropriate for all cases and should be done within the first 6 weeks of the surgery
Side Effects/Harmful Effects of Brachytherapy
There are some side effects or negative points associated with this form of treatment for breast cancer and due to these reasons; this treatment is condemned by many doctors across the world:
- Breast pain and rib fractures are the two side effects of internal radiotherapy for treating breast cancer.
- Doctors are often worried that targeting a small affected part of the breast tissue with radiation might lead to the missing of cancer cells which are lurking somewhere else in the breast which might develop into a fully grown cancer at later stages.
Advantages of Brachytherapy
The following are some of the positives associated with this form of treatment:
- A course of Brachytherapy is likely to last for a lesser time as compared to other techniques and method of radiotherapy for treating breast cancer and this can reduce the chances of cancer cells from surviving between each radiotherapy sitting.
- Brachytherapy is also said to have fewer side effects than other forms of treating breast cancer and this is another positive related to it.
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