Brachytherapy is also known as internal radiotherapy. We use brachytherapy to treat cancers of the cervix, uterus (womb) and oesophagus.
It gives a very high dose of radiation directly to the tumour and the area close by, but only a low dose to tissues and organs a few centimetres away. This reduces the risk of side effects from the treatment.
How does brachytherapy work?
At The James Cook University Hospital internal radiotherapy is given by a machine called a high dose rate (HDR) microselectron which contains a single radioactive iridium source permanently attached to the end of a wire.
A thin tube is placed inside the area for treatment and the machine pushes the source into the treatment tube under computer control. Brachytherapy can be given alone as well as in addition to external radiotherapy as a boost treatment. Your consultant will discuss the possible treatment options with you during your consultation.