For certain cancer patients, if surgery is not possible or external radiation would have too many side effects, brachytherapy offers an additional treatment option. The procedure, only offered by a few hospitals in Germany, is performed within our certified Oncology Centre.
Following cancers are eligible for treatment through brachytherapy: head and neck tumors, lung and oesophagus cancer, liver metastases and several gynaecological tumors.
Some particular tumors can be considered for brachytherapy as well so an individual evaluation can be performed for patients suffering from breast and prostate cancers.
Brachytherapy may be used to supplement most established tumour therapies. Besides a curative (healing) approach, palliative (quality-of-life) approaches are feasible. Local tumor control, i.e. a reduction in size in order to protect important healthy structures of the body, is another viable approach.
Treatment is teamwork
The treatment is carried out by an interdisciplinary team of radio-oncologists, medical physicists and interventional radiologists. The physicians apply a very high radiation dose directly to the tumour region in a short time. The radiotherapist needs the interventional radiologist to place the radiation source precisely into the tumor under CT or ultrasound control.
By changing the duration, dose and/or position of the applicators the team is able to treat very different types of tumours. The radioactive source, Iridium-192, radiates about ten millimetres deep into the tissue. By combining different needles, which are inserted image-guided by CT or ultrasound into the tissue from different angles and with different doses, the dimensions oft he tumour can be covered completely, sparing the surrounding healthy tissue at the same time.
The process is fast and gentle. The needles are removed directly after irradiation. About two weeks after the procedure the tumour starts melting and the dead tissue is broken down by the body.
We will be pleased to counsel you on details on the exact procedure and the implementation of this irradiation procedure in your individual case.