Internal Radiation Therapy

Fox Chase Cancer Center Information

Radiation Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Fox Chase has one of the country's largest, most experienced programs in radiation oncology and a staff of physicians with an outstanding reputation as a leader in cancer therapy.
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Internal Radiation Therapy

  • Brachytherapy — Fox Chase radiation oncologists offer patients with two types of brachytherapy — low-dose rate permanent seed implants and high-dose rate temporary implants. New advances, such as real-time intraoperative planning, allow doctors to map out and plan both permanent and temporary implants in the operating room so that they can target the radiation precisely in real time. This technique has created better results and reduced side effects. Brachytherapy is also used for patients with breast, gynecologic, lung and gastrointestinal cancers.
    Fox Chase was the first to perform HDR prostate implants in the region, and is the first in the region to use real-time intra-operative planning with brachytherapy.
  • MammoSite — Recent advances in brachytherapy allow doctors to apply this technology to provide radiation to the breast tumor, rather than irradiating the whole breast, which is generally performed. Brachytherapy with the MammoSite takes 5 days instead of up to 7 weeks that external radiation can require. Similar to brachytherapy, seeds are placed near the tumor in a temporary balloon. The balloon stays in the breast for 7-10 days. It is placed either at the time of lumpectomy or afterwards with the guidance of ultrasound. The placement takes only 10-20 minutes and is performed with a local anesthetic without the need for stitches. The radioactivity is placed into the balloon twice a day for 5 days, each treatment taking only 5 minutes. Apart from these times, the balloon is not radioactive. After the last treatment, the balloon is deflated and easily removed from the breast. Doctors continue to study this technique to determine if it is as effective as external beam therapy for treating breast cancer.
Treatment Options: External Beam Radiation Therapy