Brachytherapy for Other Cancers at CTCA
Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) treats many forms of cancer, including advanced and complex cases. CTCA cancer experts provide an integration of multiple medical specialties and integrative oncology services. CTCA radiation oncologists offer external radiation and internal radiation.
For external radiation, CTCA cancer experts have had experience with IMRT and Tomotherapy. Internal radiation, or brachytherapy, has been available at CTCA since 1994. Although we especially use brachytherapy to treat lung, prostate, and breast cancers, we also provide brachytherapy for other cancer types:
Cancers of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer) are generally treated with surgical removal of the uterus. This is often followed by brachytherapy to the top of the vagina to prevent cancer from recurring in that area, as well as external beam radiation.
Cancers of the cervix can be treated with surgery for early stages. The more advanced stages are treated with a combination of external beam radiation and brachytherapy. Tomotherapy allows us to treat the pelvic lymph nodes without giving a high dose to the intestines, bladder, and rectum. Large cervix cancers, such as stage III or IVA are particularly well suited to the addition of highly-targeted external beam radiation, such as Tomotherapy.
Head and Neck Cancer
Brachytherapy catheters can be placed into the tongue, or into the neck after a tumor has been removed. Brachytherapy can allow re-treatment of some cancers that have been previously irradiated!
"Sphincter sparing" means treatment methods that can destroy the cancer while leaving the rectum and anus in place. Through combinations of targeted treatments, such as transanal tumor resections, intravenous and intra-arterial chemotherapy, IMRT, Tomotherapy, and brachytherapy, we are often able to destroy the cancer without needing to resort to a colostomy bag. All low rectal cancers and anal cancers are carefully evaluated for the possibility of sphincter saving.
Brachytherapy may help reduce the chances of a high grade sarcoma recurring locally after surgery. After the tumor is removed by the surgeon, catheters are placed into the "surgical bed" where the tumor used to be. The skin is then closed over the catheters. After a couple days of healing, 8 - 10 brachytherapy treatments are given through the catheters over five days. This is much faster than the 5 - 6 weeks required for external beam radiation.
Miscellaneous Other Uses
Brachy catheters can be placed into nodules under the surface of the skin. Some other hospitals use brachytherapy for eye and brain tumors.