What is Brachytherapy?

Brachytherapy is a type of radiation therapy used to treat various types of cancers. In this treatment, a radiation source is placed directly into or very close to the tumour, delivering a high dose of radiation to the targeted area while sparing surrounding health tissues.

The goal of brachytherapy is to deliver a highly localised dose of radiation to the tumour which helps to minimise damage to nearby healthy tissues and organs. This form of treatment is commonly used for cancers of the prostate, cervix, uterus, breast, head and neck and skin among others.

There are two primary types of brachytherapy:

Interstitial Brachytherapy

In this approach, the radiation source is inserted directly into the tumour or the tissue surrounding it using thin, hollow tubes called catheters or needles. The radiation source can be temporary or permanent, depending on the specific treatment plan.

Intracavitary Brachytherapy

In this method, the radiation source is placed inside a body cavity close to the tumour. It is commonly used for cervical, uterine, vaginal and oesophageal cancers.

Brachytherapy is often used in combination with other treatment modalities such as surgery, external beam radiation therapy, or chemotherapy, depending on the type and stage of cancer.

Advantages of brachytherapy include higher radiation doses to the tumour, shorter treatment times and reduced exposure of healthy tissues to radiation.

However the suitability of brachytherapy as a treatment option depends on the specific characteristics of the cancer and the patients overall health. The decision to use brachytherapy is made by a multidisciplinary team of radiation oncologists and radiotherapy specialists.

Brachytherapy can treat conditions such as:

  1. Cervical cancer
  2. Endometrial cancer
  3. Prostate cancer
  4. Other cancers in the vagina, vulva, lung, oesophagus and bile duct

Brachytherapy can be used alone or combined with other cancer treatments such as:

  • Surgery
  • External radiation treatments

Advantages of Brachytherapy

  1. Treats certain types of cancers to achieve cure in most eligible patients.
  2. In this technique, the radiotherapy applicator is placed directly inside the cavity or tumour allowing for targeted radiotherapy.
  3. At the end of the treatment the applicator is removed leaving no radiation inside the body.
  4. Treatment time is shorter 15 to 20 minutes and only one to four sessions are required.
  5. Side effects are minimal compared to radical surgery or radiotherapy.
  6. Curative treatment can be delivered in minimal number of sessions with least impact on the work commitments as opposed to radiotherapy where six to eight weeks of daily visits are required.

Why choose Mediclinic City Hospital?

  1. We are leaders in the field of brachytherapy, delivered by most experienced multidisciplinary team.
  2. We are the only hospital in the UAE that does prostate brachytherapy and hybrid gynaecology interstitial brachytherapy.
  3. We work in collaboration with Sultan Qaboos Comprehensive Cancer Care and Research Centre (SQCCCRC) in Oman and King Fahad Medical City in Saudi Arabia. This provides an extra layer of quality assurance for this high precision radiotherapy technique.
  4. Founding members of the Middle Eastern Society for Therapeutic Radiation Oncology (MESTRO).
  5. The team at Mediclinic is actively involved in teaching brachytherapy skills to national and international specialists.
  6. Varian, the largest manufacturer of radiotherapy equipment, works with Mediclinic as a reference site for whole Middle East, South Asia and North Africa region, facilitating advanced radiotherapy and brachytherapy skill development.