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Volume 16, Number 6, 2011

Recent developments in brachytherapy

Ferran Guedea


Brachytherapy has a long and illustrious history in the treatment of cancer dating back to the early 20th century. Although its popularity has fluctuated in response to the emergence of
newer treatment modalities, brachytherapy has persisted over time. Although it is not the predominant radiotherapymodality, this treatment modality continues to play an important
role in cancer therapy, even now, more than a 100 years after it was first introduced. Today, it is most commonly used in prostate, gynecological, and breast cancer, although technological
developments in recent years have opened up several new treatment possibilities.
Brachytherapy tends to “fly under the radar” when compared to external beam radiotherapy (EBRT). However, numerous important – though perhaps under-appreciated –
advances in brachytherapy have been made in the last two decades. This therapeutic modality has several important advantages, particularly the fact that it allows for high-doses
of radiation to be delivered to the tumor with a high degree of precision, thus minimizing damage to healthy tissue. For this reason, it is important that efforts be made to remind all
cancer care professionals of the continuous improvements in this technique and the value of brachytherapy in the cancer treatment toolkit.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2011; 16(6) : 203-206

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