In Brachytherapy radiation sources are placed directly into the body.
This allows the delivery of high radiation doses to cancer cells and minimises impact on surrounding normal tissues.
It is most commonly used to treat cancers of the uterus, cervix and vagina in women and prostate cancer in men, either alone or in combination with external beam radiotherapy.
Depending on the area to be treated, this can be done under anaesthetic in an operating theatre or in the brachytherapy suite. Radiation can then be delivered on a short-term basis (through hollow tubes placed into the body), as in most gynaecological cancers, or via radioactive seeds that are placed permanently into the tumour, as in the treatment of prostate cancer.
The Rathgar centre is also the national treatment centre for ocular brachytherapy, where radiation is used to treat melanomas arising within the eye.
Currently, all brachytherapy in the St. Luke's Network is carried out in the Rathgar centre.