LDR brachytherapy is an internal radiation therapy that sends radiation from implants which will be inserted and controlled by a device called an HDR after loader. This machine pushes catheters containing iridium “seeds” towards the affected area, and plants itself inside or near the tumor. The person operating the computer has the ability to determine where the catheter is going, and when radiation is released. Having the radiation going “inside out” rather than “outside in” drastically decreases the side affects you may feel after the treatment, while also minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. With this method, the surrounding healthy tissue is at a much lower risk of receiving unnecessary radiation. When the treatment is completed, the catheter is simply removed from the site of the tumor.
What to Expect
Most likely, you would meet with your doctors a few days prior to your treatment. They will inform you of how the treatment works, and its side effects.
A few tests will also be administered before your treatment such as x-rays, CT scans, and a pelvic examination from your doctor.
First you will be placed in an operating room to have the catheters placed. After that, the radiologists will begin the treatment.. The radiologist will then perform the rest of the treatment from the control room where he/she will be able to communicate with you through an intercom during your treatment.
Dealing with side effects
Your body tissue is trying to repair itself as the radiation is trying to destroy the tumor, so you may experience some side effects. This is normal. To learn more about any potential side effects and how to manage them, please click here.