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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Low-dose rate brachytherapy

What is low-dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy?

Low-dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy is a type of internal radiation therapy that delivers a high dose of radiation at a low-dose rate from implants placed permanently in the organ.

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

Also sometimes called permanent seed implants, LDR brachytherapy uses radioactive seeds permanently implanted into the organ. These pellets emit low levels of radiation for several weeks. When this radiation treatment ends, the harmless seeds are left in place permanently. 

Primarily used to treat prostate cancer, LDR brachytherapy is a one-time procedure performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure itself generally takes about an hour.

Brachytherapy offers a quicker, more effective type of radiation treatment for some patients. Depending on the type and stage of cancer, brachytherapy may be combined with other treatments, which can vary treatment times.