• Brachytherapy

Radiation Treatment Technologies Unduplicated in the Region

The team of physicians at Northeast Radiation Oncology Center (NROC) offers the most comprehensive, advanced radiation therapy technologies available in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Doctors at NROC carefully advise patients about which type of radiation therapy is most effective for their type and stage of cancer.  Radiation treatment and treatment planning technologies available at NROC include:

Brachytherapy


Brachytherapy is a specialized form of radiation treatment.  At NROC, brachytherapy is most often used for men with prostate cancer and for women with early-stage breast cancer or cancer of the reproductive organs.  It is also helpful for patients with cancer of the mouth and throat, and for some patients with cancer of the esophagus, lung, or bile duct.

Brachy is derived from the Greek word meaning short.  Brachytherapy delivers an intense form of radiation over a short distance through small needles or catheters directly into the tumor site, or near the site, to destroy the cancer cells.

NROC physicians have extensive experience in providing Brachytherapy and have treated more people with Brachytherapy than most other physicians in Pennsylvania.  NROC utilizes the most innovative types of brachytherapy available.  Also known as internal radiation, implant radiation, or interstitial radiation therapy, brachytherapy is highly accurate and delivers maximum effectiveness of the radiation in eliminating the tumor.

Brachytherapy for Prostate Cancer:  Men with prostate cancer have 2 very effective types of brachytherapy to choose from at NROC facilities:

  • High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy:  NROC is the first and only facility in Northeastern Pennsylvania to offer HDR Brachytherapy, the state-of-the-art treatment option for men with prostate cancer.  This new treatment technique inserts a precisely- focused dose of radiation through a needle directly to the tumor site.  The needle then withdraws the radiation so no radioactive material is left within the body.   HDR Brachytherapy allows extremely precise treatment planning and delivery, thus protecting the three critical surrounding organs, the urethra, rectum and bladder.  This greatly reduces side effects that often result from surgery, such as impotence and incontinence. 

  • Permanent Seed Brachytherapy:  Permanent Seed Brachytherapy is another treatment option for prostate cancer.  Like HDR brachytherapy, permanent seed brachytherapy helps significantly to preserve a patient's quality of life.  The procedure involves the surgical implantation of radioactive “seeds” into the prostate gland.  Typically 80 to120 seeds are delivered through hollow needles under ultrasound visualization.  This procedure, unlike prostatectomy (surgery to remove the prostate gland), can usually be performed on an outpatient basis, and it also reduces the most common side effects from surgery, such as impotence and incontinence. 

MammoSite Brachytherapy for Early Stage Breast Cancer:  Some women with early stage breast cancer who have elected to have a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy are eligible for a brachytherapy procedure known as MammoSite radiation treatment.  Unlike standard external beam radiation following lumpectomy, which takes 5 to 7 weeks, MammoSite therapy is delivered directly to the affected breast tissue over a period of 5 days.