Brachytherapy is a form of internal radiation therapy. It is one where we deliver a small radioactive source straight to the tumour

We enclose the radioactive sources in protective capsules. These then travel through special applicators to the part of your body that has cancer. Sometimes we may implant radiation sources straight into an organ during surgery. Brachytherapy lets us deliver large doses of radiation straight to the tumour. 

Main types

There are two main types of brachytherapy. The treatment we deliver to you will depend upon the type of cancer you have. 

High dose rate brachytherapy  

This involves positioning the radiation source into the cancer for a brief period. We guide the radiation source into the area requiring treatment through special applicators. These are tubes we insert into body cavities or tissues. We will likely remove the applicators after each treatment. You may stay overnight with the applicators in place and receive several treatments. 

Low dose rate brachytherapy  

We use this for treating some types of prostate cancer. It involves us implanting around one hundred small radioactive seeds. These seeds go into the prostate gland. The seeds stay in the prostate and deliver a continuous radiation dose to the prostate. This can take about six months. The seeds emit a low radiation dose, which makes them safe for permanent implantation. You will be able to live a normal life after a seed implant. 

The team 

Our Melbourne site plans and delivers the Brachytherapy treatment. 

Our brachytherapy team consists of: 

  • Specialist radiation oncologists 
  • Radiation therapists
  •  Medical physicists

We work with surgical oncologists and anaesthetists when using intraoperative brachytherapy. Our team has a strong research focus. They have published many technical and clinical papers. Taking care of patients is our priority. We are always seeking ways to improve both our patients’ service and their outcomes. Our radiation therapy team is proud to offer this treatment. We continue to develop and progress treatment options.  

Please speak with your doctor to find out if brachytherapy is the best treatment choice for you. 

What we use it for 

We may use Brachytherapy alone or with other treatments. Brachytherapy can be effective to treat some of the following types of cancer: 

Related links

Cancer Council