Improved patient outcomes have been possible due to new and improved therapies. These include surgery in combination with external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) and/or chemotherapy.
In addition, high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy is currently being investigated to help downstage tumors prior to surgery.1 HDR brachytherapy can also be used after external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) or chemoradiation as an additional ‘boost’ for localized (T1, T2, and small T3) cancers.2
Brachytherapy precisely delivers the dose of radiation to the target tumor. This precision results in the sparing of healthy surrounding tissues and organs (such as the bladder, prostate and skin).1
In a study of 100 patients treated with preoperative HDR brachytherapy, local recurrence at 5 years was 5%, which is comparable to rates reported for preoperative EBRT.1 However, brachytherapy can offer shorter treatment times than EBRT.1 The delivery of brachytherapy can be provided in 4 treatment sessions. In contrast, EBRT is usually spread out over 1 or more weeks.
For general information on how HDR brachytherapy works, see the background section.
This advantage results in the sparing of normal tissues, in particular the small bowel, but also bladder, prostate and skin”
Vuong et al, 20071
and other cancers
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