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Interstitial Brachytherapy Definition

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Updated February 22, 2010

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Interstitial Radiation for Breast Cancer

Interstitial Radiation for Breast Cancer

Art © Pam Stephan
Definition:

Interstitial brachytherapy (IRT) is a method that delivers radiation from within the tumor cavity. A device, such as a catheter or a needle, is placed into the tissue that requires treatment, and radioactive seeds are inserted into the catheter during treatment, then removed afterward. This means that radiation exposure is limited to a short distance of surrounding tissue (brachy - Greek for short distance). Healthy tissue that is near the former site of the tumor is less affected by brachytherapy than when external beam radiation is used.

Interstitial is a term that refers to the placement of the tiny radiation source within the tissue. Interstices are small narrow spaces, like catheters, which may be arranged in intervals.

Also Known As: internal radiotherapy, IRT, internal radiation therapy, sealed source radiation, seed implantation
Examples:
Interstitial brachytherapy for breast cancer is much faster than external beam radiation. Interstitial brachytherapy is sometimes used as a boost, when external beam radiation treatments have been completed.
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