Brachytherapy

Tasmanian Health Service - Northern Region

Brachytherapy is a specialised form of radiation therapy where a radioactive source is placed beside or inside the tumour.  The term brachytherapy was derived from the Greek word "brachy" meaning "short distance". 

Treatment applicators are inserted or implanted into the patient in and around the tumour site. The type of applicator used depends on the tumour location and includes multiple needles, plastic catheters and endo-cavity inserts.  During treatment, the radioactive source travels from the treatment unit, through a delivery tube, into the treatment applicators.  At the conclusion of treatment the source is retracted into the unit so no radioactive material remains in the patient.  The main advantage of brachytherapy is that the treatment dose can be customised to conform with the target area, allowing large doses of radiation to be delivered directly to the tumour, with minimal impact on healthy tissue due to a rapid fall off in dose.

The W.P. Holman Clinic (Launceston) offers the only High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy program for Tasmania.  The W.P. Holman Clinic treats a wide range of tumour sites including:

  • Gynaecological Tumours
  • Prostate
  • Breast - As both a boost to external beam whole breast irradiation
    OR
    As sole treatment for early stage disease (a technique called Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation [APBI])
  • Skin (Superficial) Lesions
  • Lung
  • Oesophagus

Contact Information

If you are interested in, or have questions relating to Brachytherapy treatment, please contact the W.P. Holman Clinic (Launceston) on 03 67776140 and ask to be transferred to the Brachytherapy area.