Brachytherapy Specialist
Brachytherapy is an internal form of partial breast irradiation therapy that targets your former tumor site in just a few days — far less time than traditional six-week radiation treatments. By delivering cancer-destroying radiation directly to the area of concern, you’re less likely to have a recurrence. Committed to providing her patients with the most advanced and efficient treatment options, top-rated breast surgeon Judith Richmond, MD, FACS offers brachytherapy sessions at her practice, Oregon Breast Center in Lake Oswego, Oregon.


by Judith Richmond, MD, FACS

What happens during brachytherapy treatment?

It depends on which type of brachytherapy Dr. Richmond recommends for your breast cancer diagnosis. The most common type of brachytherapy for breast cancer treatment is called intracavitary brachytherapy. With this approach, Dr. Richmond places a small device into your breast through a small catheter. The end of the device on the inside of your breast is expanded — like a balloon — so it stays in place.

During your treatment, a radiation oncologest sends radiation through the device that Dr. Richmond places in the breast. The radiation source stays in place for a set amount of time before it’s removed, but the device and catheter stay in place. Most treatment plans require you to have this done twice daily for five days on an outpatient basis. At the end of your treatment series, the radiation oncologest deflates the device and removes it, along with the catheter.

Are brachytherapy treatments painful?

Not at all. It’s normal to feel some stinging during your first visit when Dr. Richmond has to place the catheter, but she can numb the area for you so your discomfort is minimal. The pain is similar to getting an IV in your arm.

Once your device and catheter are in place, you get to sit back and relax. Your technician inserts the radioactive material into your catheter and lets you rest for a specified amount of time — up to 20 minutes. You can read, watch TV, or take a nap during your session. When your time’s up, your technician removes the radioactive material and you can go home and continue with your normal activities.

Get started with your brachytherapy breast cancer treatments by calling the office, or booking a consultation online.

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