Brachytherapy is a form of radiation therapy that involves placing radioactive material within the patient’s body at the site of the cancer. The Beaumont Radiation Oncology department is one of the top three brachytherapy centers in the country and has developed a reputation for innovative cancer treatment programs using high-dose-rate brachytherapy.
This form of treatment offers many advantages, both with radiation protection and exposure, as well as potential biologic advantages in treating cancer. This expertise has allowed the investigation and national acceptance of Beaumont-developed approaches in treating both breast and prostate cancers. Brachytherapy has also been found useful in non-cancer situations, such as preventing blocked blood vessels of the heart.
With this technique, needles are placed throughout the lumpectomy site using an ultrasound, along with a template placed on the breast to guide needle positioning. Close calculations are then verified by your radiation oncologist and physicist. The needles are connected to a high-dose rate treatment machine, and a single radioactive seed travels through each needle into the breast to deliver the prescribed dose. This involves a weeklong series of outpatient treatments. The implant remains in place for the duration of treatment.
The MammoSite brachytherapy balloon applies the same concepts as seen with the needle implant. Rather than needles being implanted in the breast, the radiation is delivered through a balloon implant placed in the lumpectomy cavity at the time of surgery or re-excision.
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