Lung Cancer High-Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy
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HDR Brachytherapy Treatment for Lung Cancer
High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy is an innovative form of internal radiation therapy available at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) for the treatment of lung cancer.
Because the lungs support breathing and are located near the heart and other essential structures, it is important for radiation treatment to be tightly focused on tumors to avoid serious side effects. HDR brachytherapy offers a fast, precise way to give radiation treatment for some lung cancer patients. The radiation is deposited inside a tumor, delivering a maximum dose while minimizing exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue.
With this form of brachytherapy, our doctors insert tiny, hollow catheters directly into lung tumors to deliver a precise, three-dimensional dose of radiation. The catheters are temporarily inserted in and around the tumors using a bronchoscope.
Before each high-dose rate brachytherapy treatment, the CTCA radiation team checks the position of the catheters with millimeter precision. Next, a series of radioactive pellets are inserted into each catheter.
Computer guidance controls (1) how far the pellet goes into the catheter to precisely target the location of tumors, and (2) how long the pellet stays in the catheter to release its radiation dose.
With a few well-placed catheters, HDR brachytherapy can provide a precise treatment for lung cancer that takes only a few minutes.
Some of the potential benefits of high-dose rate brachytherapy include the following:
- For lung cancer, the entire brachytherapy treatment takes 1 to 2 days, instead of 5 to 7 weeks for external beam radiation therapy (EBRT). Depending on the type and stage of cancer, HDR brachytherapy may be combined with other treatments, such as TomoTherapy ® or Interventional Pulmonology, which can vary treatment times.
- Radiation beams are precisely targeted inside the tumors, controlling the location and intensity, and offering excellent precision and maximum dose concentration.
- Radiation exposure to healthy lung tissue and nearby organs is minimized or eliminated, reducing side effects like difficulty breathing.
In many cases, high-dose rate brachytherapy is a promising alternative to surgery for lung cancer.
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