What is Brachytherapy?
Brachytherapy is a complex procedure that delivers radiation internally. During this procedure, a radioactive material is placed inside or near the tumor. It allows using high dose of radiation while reducing the risk of damage to the nearby healthy tissue and increasing the chances of destroying the cancer. The surgeons may place Brachytherapy seeds into the body tissue using the hollow needles. This procedure may be used alone or along with radiation given externally to the patient. The radioactive seeds may either be left permanently or removed after some time.
Types of Brachytherapy:
There are two main types of Brachytherapy:
- Low-dose seed implant Brachytherapy: It is usually recommended for men with lower grade cancers, which are contained within the prostate gland. During this procedure, between 80-100 radioactive seeds about the size of a grain of rice are implanted directly into the prostate. Each seed releases low energy level radiation steadily over a period of several months.
- High-dose rate Brachytherapy (HDR): It is reserved for patients with high grade cancers. The high dose radiation is received through about 15 needles in the prostate, focusing on the cancerous regions.
Advantages of Brachytherapy in India
- Due to precise targeting of the radiation, it spares the healthy tissue
- Usually, this procedure can be completed in 1-3 hours as an outpatient basis
- Patients can typically return back to their normal activities within 1-2 days with minimal restrictions
- It shortens the duration of treatment, prostate cancer Brachytherapy can take about one and a half days rather than the 5-7 weeks required with traditional radiation.
- Brachytherapy is an effective option for treating prostate cancer and the results are comparable with the radical prostatectomy.
- The survival rate for men undergoing this procedure is about 81% to 93%.
How Brachytherapy is Performed?
This treatment consists of a combination of three separate therapies:
- High dose rate temporary Brachytherapy
- Moderate doses of tomotherapy
- Short-term hormonal therapy (optional)
This is also known as “triple therapy”: a three-pronged attack against the cancer. In certain cases, the doctor can omit the tomotherapy or external beam radiation or hormone therapy. However, the external beam radiation is often performed because the cancer cells may migrate outside the prostate gland, known as the “extra prostatic extension”. It helps to target those regions surrounding the prostate gland.
The HDR Procedure:
This procedure can differ among hospitals. The radiation oncologist may insert 18-25 catheters hollow plastic needles into the prostate gland. Often the insertion is performed using anaesthetic and rectal ultrasound guidance. After placing the needles, a CT scan and a computer plan will calculate how long the radioactive source will stay in each needle. Following the 24 hours, over three times the needles are hooked up to the Brachytherapy machine (HDR remote afterloader) and a treatment is given. During these 24 hours, the patient will remain in a hospital bed.
An external beam component is given in a moderate dose. Often, the radiation oncologist uses intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) which performs its own verification that the prostate is centered in the radiation field. The reduced dose and the precision targeting results in a lower risk of side effects. Some patients may receive broader radiation fields if there is a possibility that their lymph node contain cancer.
HDR may be used alone without any external beam radiation for the early prostate cancer and this is known as “HDR monotherapy”. If HDR is given without external beam, then a higher dosage will be given, about 3-6 treatment fractions that may require two separate implants. Since there is not much results using HDR monotherapy, therefore HDR along with external beam is the more proven choice of treatment.
Brachytherapy in India for Prostate Cancer:
Brachytherapy in India for prostate cancer is performed by top surgeons at the best medical facilities across India. This procedure requires extremely hi-tech equipment that is available at the hospitals in India. The cost of healthcare services offered at the top hospitals in India are extensively lower than in other countries. The cost of this Brachytherapy in India is just a fraction of the price compared to the prices in the US and UK.
Indian Medguru consultants provide assistance to the patients looking for this procedure to get it done with the top surgeons for Brachytherapy in India. We have an association with the top most hospitals across different cities in India providing the best medical services to the patients. All you need to do is send us your query regarding the Brachytherapy in India and our patient coordinator will contact you for further details. We will take care of arranging your medical visas, accommodation, food and appointment with the doctor.