At the Dorothy E. Schneider Cancer Center, we offer high-dose rate radiation (brachytherapy) for early stage breast cancer, which reduces radiation treatment time from five or six weeks to five days. In this procedure, doctors insert radioactive material directly in or near cancerous tissue.
Radioactive seeds are inserted through a catheter directly into your breast where the tumor was removed. The seeds deliver a highly targeted dose of radiation to this area, called the tumor bed, for a few minutes, and then they are removed. Doctors typically use high-dose breast radiation on smaller tumors with clear margins.
Brachytherapy can dramatically shorten treatment time and may result in fewer side effects. It takes far less time than external beam radiation, which is typically given five days a week for five or six weeks. Catheter brachytherapy is done twice a day for five days. It is an outpatient procedure, so you can go home between treatments.