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What is brachytherapy?


Brachytherapy (or brachytherapy) is a form of radiotherapy is to say, a therapeutic strategy that uses high energy ionizing radiation to destroy cancer cells. Brachytherapy is radiation therapy called "internal" radiation is emitted by a source which is inserted at the site of the tumor. This approach can be used alone or in combination with surgery and / or chemotherapy, depending on the nature of the tumor and its evolution.

Brachytherapy in practice

A radioactive source is implanted in contact with the tumor, or in a natural cavity of the body where the tumor seat or directly into the tumor tissue. The radioactive source may take the form of beads, microspheres or son iridium compounds or cesium.

Hospitalization for two to six days is required. Due to the radioactivity emitted by the source implanted in his body, patients are isolated in rooms protected and access is limited. End of treatment, the source is removed and the patient is then no danger to those around her.

Different forms of brachytherapy

When the radioactive source is located in a natural cavity such as the vagina, uterus or esophagus is called brachytherapy.

When the source is placed directly into the tumor as is the case in some prostate cancer or breast cancer, the technique is called brachytherapy.

Side effects of brachytherapy

Ionizing radiation does not distinguish between healthy cells and cancer cells. There is therefore a risk of damaging healthy cells near the treated area, which may result in side effects more or less severe. Most often, they are limited to the appearance of irritation and / or pain in the treated area.

In the case of a brachytherapy of prostate cancer, urinary problems may occur. They are transient and disappear gradually.

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