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HDR brachytherapy for soft tissue sarcoma

HDR brachytherapy for soft tissue sarcoma

With HDR brachytherapy, radiation is deposited inside the body, in the area of the tumor, thereby delivering a maximum dose while minimizing exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue. This is especially useful for soft tissue sarcoma tumors located near vital organs. By avoiding damage to healthy tissue, high-dose rate brachytherapy can also minimize the side effects that you may experience during standard radiation therapy.

High-dose rate brachytherapy for soft tissue sarcoma is often used following surgery to help eradicate any cancerous cells that remain after the procedure. Radiation therapy may also be combined with chemotherapy in some cases, depending on the personalized treatment plan that has been developed by you and your care team.

What is HDR brachytherapy?

High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy is a type of internal radiation therapy that delivers radiation from implants placed close to, or inside, the tumor(s) in the body.

Because cancer often affects organs and other essential structures, it is important for radiation treatment to be tightly focused on tumors to minimize serious side effects. This technique ensures the maximum radiation dose is given to cancerous tissues, while minimizing exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue.

How it works

With this form of brachytherapy, tiny, hollow catheters are temporarily inserted directly into a tumor. Before each treatment, we check 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 that takes only a few minutes. Brachytherapy offers a quicker, more effective type of radiation treatment for some patients. For many cancer types, the entire brachytherapy treatment takes one to two days, instead of five to seven weeks for external beam radiation therapy (EBRT). Depending on the type and stage of cancer, brachytherapy may be combined with other treatments, which can vary treatment times.

High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy medical animation