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These two advanced radiological technologies benefit cancer patients.
With IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy), radiation can be targeted more precisely in beams that closely approximate the shape of the tumor. This allows for an increased dose of radiation that spares adjoining normal tissue from damage.
Brachytherapy involves placing a radioactive material directly inside the body. It allows a physician to use a higher total dose of radiation to treat a smaller area, and in a shorter time, than is possible with external radiation treatment. Brachytherapy can be used to treat prostate, cervix, head and neck, ovarian, breast and other cancers.
Brachytherapy can be temporary or permanent. In temporary brachytherapy, the radioactive material is placed inside or near a tumor for a specific amount of time and then withdrawn. Temporary brachytherapy can be administered at a low-dose or high-dose rate.
Permanent brachytherapy, involves permanently implanting small radioactive seeds in or near the tumor. After several weeks or months, the radioactivity level diminishes to nothing. The seeds remain with no lasting effect on the patient.
The Cancer Center is equipped with a High Dose Rate (HDR) afterloading unit which optimizes the benefits of brachytherapy. It allows for more outpatient, rather than inpatient, treatment in shorter periods of time.