Increasingly, women are deciding to have treatment of breast cancer with a safe and effective form of radiation therapy known as “breast brachytherapy.” This method of therapy, which delivers radiation directly into a tumor site from the inside out, is a way to save most of the normal breast tissue, preserve the cosmetic appearance of the breast, and avoid the physical and emotional trauma of extensive breast removal surgery.
In the past, radiation has been administered to a patient’s “entire” breast (whole breast radiation) via external beam radiation therapy (EBRT). EBRT treatment is delivered to the tumor site via a radioactive beam from outside the patient’s body on a daily basis
over an approximate seven-week time period. Recent studies have however shown that in most cases, limiting radiation to just “part” of the breast (partial breast radiation) is equally as effective and causes less injury to surrounding healthy breast tissue.
While both external beam and brachytherapy can be used to deliver partial breast radiation, brachytherapy is the quickest, most direct, and conformal way to deliver the radiation to the target.
High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy for breast cancer is usually administered as a complete course given twice a day for a total of five days on an outpatient basis.
The Advantages of HDR Brachytherapy