Brachytherapy is another special type of radiation treatment employed by the UF Department of Radiation Oncology. In contrast to external beam radiation therapy, brachytherapy uses a radioactive source which is placed in close proximity to, or directly in, the tumor using a needle or catheter. Because the radiation dose falls off rapidly as you move away from the source, brachytherapy provides the distinct advantage over external beam radiotherapy in better sparing of surround normal tissues.
Our department has an active gynecological (GYN) brachytherapy program using Elekta’s microSelectron high dose-rate (HDR) afterloading system to treat a variety of gynecological malignancies. A computer optimization algorithm is used to optimize the dwell positions and dwell times of the HDR radioactive source in order to obtain the desired dose coverage. Most treatments are outpatient-based and do not require hospitalization. Brachytherapy is frequently combined with external beam radiation therapy to achieve the best overall outcome.
Learn more about brachytherapy in our Types of Radiation Therapies section.