Brachytherapy, also called internal radiation therapy, enables a higher dose of radiation to treat a smaller area and in a shorter time than is possible with external beam radiotherapy treatment.
Tubes are inserted directly into the affected area and radioactive material is moved along the tubes directly into the affected area. A high dose of radiation is given to the tumour but healthy tissue only gets a small amount of radiation. Once the treatment has been delivered the radioactive material returns to a lead safe and the tubes are removed.
Brachytherapy may be used to treat cancers throughout the body but in the Radiotherapy department at Colchester General Hospital Brachytherapy is currently used to treat gynaecological cancers.