Vaginal Cancer High-Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy
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HDR Brachytherapy for Vaginal Cancer
High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy is an innovative form of internal radiation therapy we use at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) for the treatment of vaginal cancer.
With this form of brachytherapy, your doctor temporarily places a special applicator device inside the vagina. Before each treatment, the radiation team checks the position of the applicator with millimeter precision. Next, a series of radioactive pellets are inserted into the applicator. A precise, three-dimensional dose of radiation is delivered to the vagina.
Computer guidance controls (1) how far the pellet goes into the applicator to precisely target the location of tumors, and (2) how long the pellet stays in the applicator to release its radiation dose. With a few well-placed catheters, HDR brachytherapy can provide a very precise treatment for vaginal cancer that takes only a few minutes. High-dose rate brachytherapy allows the maximum dose of radiation to be delivered while minimizing exposure to the surrounding healthy tissues.
Some of the potential benefits of HDR brachytherapy include:
• A treatment time of several days, instead of five to seven 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®, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) or chemotherapy.
• Radiation beams are precisely targeted inside the vagina, controlling the location and intensity, and offering excellent precision and maximum dose concentration.
• Radiation exposure to healthy vaginal tissue and nearby organs is minimized or eliminated, reducing gastrointestinal and sexual function side effects.
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