Brachytherapy, a form of internal radiation therapy, uses either radioactive seeds implanted in or near a tumor or a temporary implant to deliver high-dose rate (HDR) or low-dose rate (LDR) radiation directly to the cancer site, thus reducing radiation exposure to the surrounding healthy tissues. It also offers fewer side effects than external beam radiation treatments. Doctors can do real-time brachytherapy treatment planning in the operating room and implant either permanent or temporary seeds to treat breast, gynecologic, prostate, lung and gastrointestinal cancers.
Fox Chase was the first to perform HDR prostate implants in the Eastern United States and is the first in the region to use real-time intraoperative planning with brachytherapy.
Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) is a brachytherapy treatment that avoids the need for irradiating the entire breast. A radioactive source is placed within the tumor bed cavity in a temporary balloon that can be deflated and easily removed from inside the breast after treatment is complete. Treatment takes five days instead of the seven weeks sometimes required by external radiation.