High-Dose Brachytherapy (HDR)
High-Dose Brachytherapy (HDR) is a procedure in which a protected radiation source is placed directly within or on the tumor site. HDR involves placing a protected source of high-energy radiation directly within the tumor or on the tumor using radioactive plaques, needles, tubes, wires or catheters.
The high-energy radioactive source used in HDR brachytherapy means the radiation oncologist can deliver equivalent doses of radiation in just a few minutes by inserting and then removing the radioactive beads. HDR is usually performed as a series of short outpatient procedures.
HDR is being used for gynecologic patients, breast patients, prostate cancer patients as well as patients with head and neck cancer, pulmonary cancer, and other local regional tumors. “Mammosite” is a new minimally invasive method of delivering HDR for the breast cancer patient. It is a trademark name of a new catheter that allows delivery of HDR for the breast cancer patient. It is given on an outpatient basis and there is no need to stay in the hospital. It can be completed in one to five days versus 30 days or more. Radiation is delivered from within the cavity, limiting the amount of radiation to healthy tissue, thereby reducing the potential for side effects.