Brachytherapy (brak-e-THER-uh-pee) is a procedure that involves placing radioactive material inside your body.

Brachytherapy is one type of radiation therapy that's used to treat cancer. Brachytherapy is sometimes called internal radiation.

Brachytherapy allows doctors to deliver higher doses of radiation to more-specific areas of the body, compared with the conventional form of radiation therapy (external beam radiation) that projects radiation from a machine outside of your body.

Brachytherapy may cause fewer side effects than does external beam radiation, and the overall treatment time is usually shorter with brachytherapy.

Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Brachytherapy is used to treat several types of cancer, including:

  • Bile duct cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Eye cancer
  • Head and neck cancers
  • Lung cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Soft tissue cancers
  • Vaginal cancer

Brachytherapy can be used alone or in conjunction with other cancer treatments. For instance, brachytherapy is sometimes used after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that may remain. Brachytherapy can also be used along with external beam radiation.

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