Internal Radiation Therapy
Internal radiation therapy refers to treatments in which a radioactive substance is placed inside your body so it can release radiation from within. Often the substance is a small implant, which may be left in only for minutes or days or may be left in permanently. Internal radiation therapy could also be a pill that you take by mouth or a fluid you get intravenously, or by IV.
Brachytherapy is radiation therapy that’s delivered by implanting a small radioactive source—such as a seed, pellet, wire, needle or capsule—inside your body. A doctor places the source next to or inside the tumor using a tube-like applicator. Depending on your specific situation, you might need a high-dose radiation source that’s inserted for a short time (and then removed) on several occasions. Or you might need a low-dose radiation source that’s inserted once and left for week, months or permanently.
Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) Using Brachytherapy
An innovative technique that helps reduce treatment time and minimize side effects, in some cases, patients can get electron beam radiation treatment during conventional surgery. Healthy tissue can be moved out of the way or shielded from the radiation and the radiation beams can be directed right at the tumor bed or residual tumor cells during surgery. (IORT can also be done using external beam radiation.)
Systemic Radiation Therapy
Radioactive medicines can be taken by mouth or injected in a vein. These medicines travel throughout the body, collect where there’s cancer and give off radiation to kill cancer cells. One example is radioactive iodine, used to treat thyroid cancer.