The Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center is pleased to add high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy to our list of cancer treatment services. This new, innovative treatment serves as a better option for breast cancer patients than the low-dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy treatment and is an exciting new step treatment option for cancer patients.
What is brachytherapy?
Brachytherapy is sometimes also called internal radiation therapy. The radiation that is inserted into the body prevents living cells from multiplying and reproducing. It attacks malignant or cancer cells that are present in the area, which are more susceptible to radiation than healthy cells. The result is that the healthy cells prevail over the malignant ones and take over as they multiply at a faster rate.
Advantages of HDR over LDR
Previously the only option for brachytherapy was LDR, or low-dose rate treatment. However HDR, or high-dose rate is now a new option. Here are some advantages of HDR over LDR.
- HDR is a five-day radiation treatment program, whereas LDR is administered over a much longer period of time.
- HDR is administered in less than an hour, unlike LDR, which takes several hours of immobilization.
- HDR is an outpatient treatment, so it’s a more cost effective than LDR, which involves overnight stays.
- HDR does not involve the use of general anesthesia or rhachianesthesia, which is also more cost effective.
- Unlike LDR, there is less risk of exposing harmful amounts of radiation to not only yourself but the hospital staff.
“There are many advantages to this form of radiation therapy, and for many patients to return to their normal lives sooner is a great benefit. Additionally, since this is an outpatient treatment, during the five treatment days most patients can return to activities as tolerated, since most side effects are mild and of short duration,” says Dr. Lopez, the Radiation Oncologist for Aventura’s Cancer Center.
The goal of HDR is to locally eradicate tumor cells that may remain after surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence. In an HDR procedure, a pellet, or radioactive “seed” is inserted into your body inside or near the cancerous tissue through a hollow catheter. From there, the computer guided system controls how far the pellet goes, how long the pellet stays in the catheter and the dosage of treatment that it releases.
“We’re all looking forward to this new innovation,” says Dr. Charles Shenker, Chief of Staff at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, “To have this advanced treatment technology available and Dr Lopez’s expertise as a part of the Cancer Center’s Program is certainly a benefit for our community.”
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and want to research your options for treatment, this may be a good option for you. Aventura is here to answer any questions you may have. Please contact our Cancer Center by calling 305-682-2151. You can also peruse our health library for more information on cancer by clicking here.