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Internal Radiation Therapy

Sometimes radiation is placed inside the body to get the source of the radiation as close to the tumor as possible. This type of radiation therapy is called brachytherapy. In gynecologic cancers, this is often a very important part of treatment and it is commonly utilized. Other names for this type of treatment besides internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy including interstitial implants and intracavitary implants. Brachytherapy can be done alone or in combination with external radiation therapy.

Usually, the radiation source is placed inside the body for short periods of time and then taken out. Your radiation oncologist will discuss with you whether brachytherapy will be used alone or with standard radiation therapy to treat your type of cancer.

High-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy does not usually require that you be admitted to the hospital and is now the most commonly used type of brachytherapy for this type of cancer. A typical course of treatment involves three to six high-dose-rate brachytherapy treatments given one to two times per week. Low-dose- rate (LDR) brachytherapy is delivered in a single continuous treatment over the course of 48 to 72 hours. You will be admitted to the hospital to receive this treatment. This is less commonly used.