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St. Mary’s Cancer Center offers a new radiation treatment called high dose rate brachytherapy (HDR), which delivers a precise, highly concentrated dose of radiation directly to cancerous tissue.
The most significant benefit of HDR is that treatment can be completed in only five days. The more common external beam radiation therapy takes six weeks.
For patients who qualify, HDR often offers fewer side effects and less downtime than standard radiation.
During HDR treatment, the surgeon implants a small, temporary catheter into the cavity following tumor removal. Several days later, the patient returns and the HDR machine is affixed to the catheter, and treatment is delivered directly to the cancerous area via radioactive seeds.
Treatment is administered on an outpatient basis twice per days for five days. Once treatment is completed, the catheter is removed, leaving no radioactive seeds behind. HDR can also be used in conjunction with other treatment options.
Not all patients meet the criteria for HDR treatment. Tumor size, location and other factors must be considered. Patients should speak to their physician to determine if this treatment is right for them.
For more information about HDR treatment or the St. Mary’s Cancer Center, call us at 415.750.2900.