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Brachytherapy is a type of radiotherapy that is used to treat some prostate and gynaecological cancers.

It involves putting small amounts of radioactive material into your body. The radioactive material targets the cancerous area, with less risk to healthy parts of your body.

Like all treatments, brachytherapy requires patient consent.

Brachytherapy for prostate cancer

This treatment requires two appointments.

  1. At the first appointment, we will take images to determine if the treatment is possible.
  2. At the second appointment, we will insert the radioactive seeds. This normally takes place at least two weeks after the first appointment.

Both appointments require admission to the ward and you are normally discharged a few hours after the procedure.

Brachytherapy for gynaecological cancers

The length of your appointments will depend on the type of gynaecological cancer being treated and whether or not an anaesthetic is required.

During the treatment, applicators are placed at the top of your vagina. A small radioactive source is placed into the applicators for a short time to give a carefully measured dose of radiation. When this is complete, the applicators are removed.

You may have brachytherapy on its own or in combination with external beam radiotherapy.

Most patients are kept in the ward for a few hours after treatment and discharged in the evening.

When you are going for brachytherapy treatment:

  • do not apply creams or dressing unless recommended by staff
  • do not wear tight, restrictive clothing around the treatment area

Each treatment plan is unique and your doctor will discuss your treatment plan with you.

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