Brachytherapy is a therapeutic technique in radiation therapy consisting in direct irradiation of neoplastic cells by positioning the source of radiation (the radioactive element) directly inside the disease lesion (inside the tumour) or within its immediate vicinity.

Among NU-MED Group facilities, this method is employed by centers in Zamość and Katowice. The irradiation source in Katowice is iridium (Ir-192) isotope.

HDR – ( High Dose Rate) – means a high dose rate and the application of a highly active radiation source. This renders the irradiation session rather short (usually several minutes).

The following techniques are discerned with respect to the strength of radiation dose:

  • LDR – low dose rate – below 2Gy/h
  • MDR – medium dose rate) – 2-12Gy/h
  • HDR – (high dose rate) – above 12Gy/h
  • PDR – pulse dose rate – administration of MDR dose at adequate fixed intervals.

The following brachytherapy procedures are performed in NU-MED Center for Diagnostics and Oncology Therapy in Katowice:

  • Intracavitary brachytherapy
  • Interstitial brachytherapy
  • Surface brachytherapy
  • Real-time 3-D HDR brachytherapy

What is the preparation and how does the procedure look like?
Two applications may be distinguished in brachytherapy:

Large applicator system:

  • Short-term intravenous anaesthesia of the patient is required with the assistance of an anaesthesiologist.
  • Administration of adequate drugs, prescribe by a physician.
  • Installation of an appropriate set of applicators, adequate for the diagnosis and the patient’s anatomical structures.
  • Treatment planning at CT or MRI lab with the applicator system installed.

Small applicator system:

  • The patient does not require any particular preparation.
  • The system type is selected depending on the clinical diagnosis and the advancement stage, upon the consultation of a radiation therapist with another specialist in the field.
  • The entire procedure lasts between 5 and 15 minutes.

Once the applicator system is installed, a medical physicist prepares a treatment plan (treatment duration, dosage) in consultation with the physician. Subsequently, the patient is treated with ionizing radiation that forms when the source of radiation, situated in the therapeutic apparatus of microSelectron HDR type, decays. Throughout therapy, the patient is monitored via a video camera set and an intercom system. The following personnel are in charge of the patient’s safety: obstetrical nurse, electroradiology technician, medical physicist and radiation therapist.

How to prepare for therapy?

  • you should ensure proper bowel movement,
  • please shower yourself (not removing the markers left after teletherapy),
  • please be ready to collaborate with the medical personnel.

What are the implications of the treatment?
tzw. objawy wypadowe, do których można zaliczyć:

  • zlewanie potami
  • osłabienia
  • uderzenia gorąca
  • zawroty głowy

Chory po zabiegu brachyterapii, po wypisie ze szpitala, powinien skontaktować się z lekarzem w każdym przypadku wystąpienia niepokojących objawów.