Internal radiotherapy, sometimes referred to as brachytherapy, is a type of radiation therapy in that is delivered from an internal implant. Typically, the sources are radioactive pellets, which are placed in or near a tumor. These pellets can be used for as little as a few minutes, or they can be permanent. Once the treatment is finished, the pellets will either dissolve or be surgically removed. A team of radiation oncologists determines the best delivery method for each patient.
Internal radiotherapy can be either high-dose-rate brachytherapy, in which high doses of radiation are delivered for a short period of time, or low-dose-rate brachytherapy, in which low doses of radiation are delivered for a longer period of time. Radiation therapists use several internal radiotherapy delivery methods, including:
- Intracavitary radiation therapy, in which radioactive implants are placed directly into a bodily cavity, such as the chest cavity or the vagina
- Interstitial radiation therapy, in which a radioactive material is implanted directly into a tumor
- Mammosite radiation therapy, in which a radioactive catheter is implanted into a breast and removed after five days of treatment
- INTRABEAM single-fraction radiation therapy, in which a miniaturized radiation device is inserted into a breast for 20 to 30 minutes during a lumpectomy (surgery to remove a breast cancer tumor)
- Liver radioembolization, in which radioactive pellets are placed inside blood vessels that feed a tumor, in turn blocking the supply of blood to the cancer cells. The bloodstream eventually carries these pellets to the tumor, where they deliver additional radiation to cancerous tissues.
Internal radiotherapy is just one of Moffitt Cancer Center’s specialties. Our radiation oncologists individualize treatment plans for every patient’s unique needs, then deliver those treatments with unparalleled expertise. And, no referral is required to receive radiation therapy at Moffitt.