Advertisement

What are the benefits of brachytherapy to treat breast cancer?

Brachytherapy treatments for breast cancer are given twice a day. This usually involves 10 treatments, so therapy is completed in about five days. Most women find this type of radiation treatment interesting because of how quickly it can be completed.

In terms of the overall treatment of breast cancer, there is an additional benefit to this. In the past, typical radiation treatments required about six weeks, so we had to make difficult decisions about when to give chemotherapy and when to give radiation therapy. Delaying either one of those can have consequences. We typically gave the chemotherapy first in women who needed it, and delayed the radiation therapy until the chemotherapy was completed. That often resulted in an increased risk of the cancer coming back at its original site. But we determined that wasn’t as important as reducing disease risk in the rest of the body by giving chemotherapy.

When we use brachytherapy though, we do it immediately after the lumpectomy and we don’t delay chemotherapy. There are no longer any questions about how to time these treatments and which to do first. Since the brachytherapy is finished in a week, it doesn't complicate the timing of chemotherapy at all.

Continue Learning about Breast Cancer Treatment

Ask the Experts: Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatments
Ask the Experts: Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatments
In this video, Darria Long Gillespie, MD, an emergency physician and Sharecare’s Senior Vice President of Clinical Strategy, discusses chemotherapy, r...
Read More
Are there alternative therapies to breast cancer surgery like chemotherapy?
Elisa R. Port, MDElisa R. Port, MD
Chemotherapy is typically used after surgery to treat breast cancer, says Elisa Port, MD, a surgeon ...
More Answers
Is external beam radiation treatment for breast cancer dangerous?
St Francis Medical CenterSt Francis Medical Center
External beam radiation is not dangerous. It is delivered through a catheter, similar to a straw, th...
More Answers
Is High Touch Healthcare Still Important?
Is High Touch Healthcare Still Important?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.