This newer approach to breast cancer treatments utilizing brachytherapy is designed to deliver radiation to the surgical site from which the lump has been removed, but not irradiate the entire breast. It involves 10 treatments completed in just five days versus five to seven weeks.
Spectrum Health was the first facility in West Michigan to deliver this type of brachytherapy or accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) following the guidelines of the national Phase III clinical trial.
This one-time procedure for those diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer is performed on an outpatient basis, as opposed to the more aggressive prostatectomy, which requires inpatient hospitalization or a full course of external beam irradiation typically lasting for eight weeks. Radioactive seeds are implanted directly into the prostate gland, under ultrasound guidance, and are permanently left in place.
Gynecologic brachytherapy includes intracavitary implants that can be inserted during outpatient or inpatient procedures to concentrate radiation at the site of cancer.
Eye plaque therapy is a type of brachytherapy permitting management of diseases that would otherwise require removal of the eye.
Visit the National Cancer Institute's website for more information about brachytherapy.