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The Cancer Care Center

Type of Cancer

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Wayne Huff is alive today, thanks to a wearable defibrillator.

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The Cancer Care Center

Radiation oncology


Brachytherapy is different from external beam therapy (EBT), because in EBT, an external machine delivers high-energy X-ray beams to the tumor site. In brachytherapy, radioactive material is placed directly inside or near the tumor.

Brachytherapy allows your St. Anthony's Cancer Care Center doctors to use a higher dosage of radiation to treat a smaller area while sparing the surrounding tissue.

Some skin cancers can be treated with brachytherapy; patients undergo six treatments twice a week instead of four weeks of treatment. A mold and disk sit on your skin and the radiation is delivered through that.

Temporary or permanent brachytherapy

Brachytherapy can be temporary, in which the seed is placed for a specified amount of time and then removed. It can also be given as permanent brachytherapy, in which the seed is placed near the tumor and left inside permanently. After a period of time, usually a few weeks or months, the radioactivity level of the seeds diminishes, and the inactive seeds remain inside your body.

What can I expect from brachytherapy?

  • First, your radiation oncologist meets with you to determine the best radiation therapy for you, what part of your body needs treatment and how much radiation to deliver.
  • If necessary, your surgeon helps place any devices necessary, such as a catheter or needle.
  • The radiation oncologist calculates the radiation amount.
  • A computer is used to help calculate the exact position in your body where the radiation needs to go.
  • You undergo any necessary preparations, including X-rays, pretreatment scans, blood tests or an EKG.
  • The radioactive material or special applicator is placed at the treatment site.
  • Your radiation oncologist confirms that the devices are properly positioned.
  • The radiation is inserted; imaging techniques such as X-rays, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRIs) may be used to help position the radioactive material.

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For information about St. Anthony's Cancer Care Center - St. Louis, please call 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.

Working as trusted partners, the physicians and employees of St. Anthony's Health System will deliver care distinguished by its demonstrated quality and personalized service. We will be visibly engaged in improving the health and well­ being of the communities we serve in South County and beyond. We will stand together, proud to set the standard for independent community health systems.