Brachytherapy is a type of radiation used to treat cancer. It uses a type of energy, called ionizing radiation, to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Unlike external beam therapy (EBT), in which high-energy x-ray beams generated by a machine are directed at the tumor from outside the body, Brachytherapy involves placing a radioactive material directly inside the body. Brachytherapy is used to treat cancers throughout the body, including cancers in organs such as the Prostate, Cervix, Head and neck, Ovary, Breast, Gallbladder & bile duct, Uterus & uterine cervix, Vagina, Esophagus, Bronchus, Eye, Brain, etc.
Brachytherapy is probably one of the best forms of conformal radiation therapy. The main advantage is that as the radiation source is within the tumor, it is possible to deliver a high dose of radiation to the tumor with very minimal or insignificant doses to the surrounding normal structures in the body. This approach reduces the risk of damage to healthy tissue and increases the likelihood of destroying the tumor. As the dose to the normal tissues is very minimal, large single doses of radiation can be delivered without any morbidity. Hence, the entire course of radiation can be delivered in a very short time. While conventional external radiotherapy takes 6-8 weeks for completion, brachytherapy delivers the entire course of radiation within just a few days. This causes immense benefit to the patients in terms of time and other resources.