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High-Dose Rate Radiation Therapy at Rex Cancer Center

High-dose rate (HDR) radiation therapy is a form of brachytherapy, or internal radiation therapy, that involves the placement of a high-energy radiation source inside the body near the tumor for brief periods of time. HDR radiation therapy is usually performed as a short series of outpatient procedures.

HDR radiation therapy allows highly localized doses of radiation to be delivered to the tumor quickly. This differs from low-dose rate (LDR) radiation therapy, such as seed implantation, in which radioactive materials are placed within the body for extended periods of time. HDR therapy is less toxic to surrounding normal tissue and may result in fewer overall side effects.

At Rex, HDR radiation therapy is used to treat certain gynecologic cancers and prostate cancer. In addition, a new form of HDR called MammoSite® is being used in conjunction with lumpectomy to treat breast cancer via partial breast irradiation (PBI).

Until recently, the entire breast had been treated with radiation therapy following lumpectomy to ensure that no cancer cells were left behind. Now, MammoSite® and SAVI® are being used in appropriate cases to achieve the same results by treating only the surgical site.