Brachytherapy and Implants

What is brachytherapy?

Brachytherapy, also known as internal radiation, is a type of cancer treatment. It involves implanting a small radioactive pellet or seed inside the body near the tumour. This implant allows higher doses of radiation to be given to specific areas of the body and may cause fewer side effects than conventional external beam radiation therapy.

Brachytherapy implants may be placed inside a body cavity, such as the vagina, or inserted into the tissues using hollow needles. They may be left permanently or removed after some time.

Advantages of brachytherapy

Compared to external beam radiotherapy, there is less damage to healthy tissues as the radiation source is placed in or near the tumour.

Disadvantages of brachytherapy

Brachytherapy is only suitable for small and accessible tumours such as cervical cancer, which is accessible through the vagina. In addition, you may need to undergo local anaesthetic or general anaesthesia.

For permanent seed implants like prostate cancer implants, you will give off low amounts of radiation and will need to avoid contact with vulnerable people for about 2 months.

Types of brachytherapy implants

In general, there are 3 types of brachytherapy implants:

  1. High-dose-rate brachytherapy implants. These implants discharge high doses of radiation for 10 – 20 minutes and are removed thereafter. The length and frequency of treatment vary.
  2. Low-dose-rate brachytherapy implants. These implants emit low levels of radiation over time. You will typically be warded during the treatment session.
  3. Permanent brachytherapy implants. These small implants (also called seed implants) are left in the body and emit low doses of radiation over time until they are spent.

Why do you need brachytherapy?

Brachytherapy is used to treat cancers, such as:

Brachytherapy is a preferred treatment for:

  • Uterine cancer
  • Certain forms of prostate or cervical cancer
  • Patients who are at risk of recurring tumours in the upper vagina after a hysterectomy...

What are the risks and complications of brachytherapy?

Implants used to treat:

Why choose Gleneagles Hospital?

Established for more than 60 years in Singapore, Gleneagles Hospital offers a comprehensive suite of cancer treatments delivered by an experienced, multidisciplinary team of medical doctors and healthcare professionals.

We are supported with modern technologies and proven therapies to achieve optimal outcomes for our patients.

Our radiation oncologists

Gleneagles Hospital's team of radiation oncologists offers high-quality and compassionate cancer care. With expertise and empathy, we support patients in all areas of cancer treatment.

Please check with your insurance provider for more information, and for their most up-to-date list of panel doctors.

^Specialists may qualify to be on the Extended Panel (EP). You may enjoy selected panel benefits depending on your policy and riders.
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