What is brachytherapy?

Brachytherapy is a type of radiotherapy. It is used to treat some prostate and gynaecological cancers. It involves the insertion of small amounts of radioactive materials into the body. The radioactive materials target the cancerous area with less risk to healthy parts of the body. Like all treatments, brachytherapy requires the patient to give their consent. For more information on consent, please follow this link.


Brachytherapy treatment is given in the Brachytherapy Suite on the third floor of the Cancer Centre. Patients will be admitted to a ward on Level 3 of the Cancer Centre.


Prostate Cancer

The treatment requires two appointments.

1. The first appointment is used for imaging of the patient and to determine if the treatment is possible.

2.The second appointment is used to insert the radioactive seeds, and normally takes place at least two weeks after the first appointment.

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

Gynae Cancers

Appointment time depends on the type of gynae cancer being treated or if an anaesthetic is required.

Applicators are placed at the top of the vagina. A small radioactive source is placed into the applicators for a short time to give a carefully measured dose of radiation. Once complete the applicators are removed. Patients may have brachytherapy alone or in combination with external beam radiotherapy.

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

If undergoing treatment, patients should not:

  • Apply creams or dressing unless recommended by staff
  • Wear tight, restrictive clothing around the treatment area

Each treatment plan is unique to each patient and will be discussed with the patient by their doctor.

Useful Links

For more information on brachytherapy, please follow these links: