The radioactive material used in this treatment device is Iridium 192. HDR Brachytherapy for the treatment of cervical or womb cancer is delivered through specially designed cylindrical applicators.
These are inserted into the vagina by the consultant and a CT scan is performed to ensure accurate positioning. A treatment plan is then designed to show the radiation dose distribution to the tumour and surrounding tissues.
The treatment commences by attaching the cylindrical applicator to the brachytherapy unit and remotely placing the radioactive pellet in the predefined positions (as determined by the plan) within the applicator. Once the prescribed dose is delivered the radioactive source is withdrawn back into a safe position within the machine. The applicators are then removed. A similar technique is used to treat the bile duct, oesophagus and bronchus except in the latter cases; the cylindrical applicator is replaced by a narrow catheter.
The radioactive source steps through the catheter to the predefined positions in the same manner as described above to complete the treatment. The radiation oncologist and radiation therapist will provide you with information regarding side effects and post treatment care. This form of brachytherapy does not make you radioactive.