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High Dose Rate(HDR) Radiation Therapy

High-dose-rate remote after loaded brachytherapy (HDR) is a treatment available for women with either gynecologic or breast cancer. This treatment option is faster, more convenient, and more comfortable than the traditional low-dose-rate (LDR) approach. Uncommon in a community setting, HDR is currently available in the Waldorf office of CPRCC.

HDR treatments for gynecologic cancers are administered on an outpatient basis over a course of four or five consecutive weekly visits and four to five consecutive daily visits for breast cancer. A HIGHLY radioactive source is computer-guided into position inside the patient via a catheter implanted prior to the start of treatment. The actual administration of the radiation lasts from approximately six minutes for vaginal cancers to twenty minutes for cancers of the cervix and endometrium and 15 minutes for breast cancer. Patients return home after each session. Patients are not radioactive when they leave the site.

Using CT scans, the CPRCC radiation oncology team studies surrounding tissue and organs in order to protect them from the adverse effects of the radiation, evaluates the exact size and location of the tumor, and determines the optimal position of the source and their most effective dosage.

HDR is used primarily for gynecologic and breast cancers at this point. In the near future, however, CPRCC may apply HDR to treat other cancer sites, such as the esophagus and lung.


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