Cancer:Esophageal cancer — Brachytherapy. Treatment abroad
Brachytherapy is a kind of radiotherapy upon which the radiation source is placed inside the body (near or directly into the tumor). This approach allows enhancing the radiation influence on cancer cells and minimizing the damage to healthy tissues. The patients with esophageal cancer are recommended this technique at the last stages of the disease when there are problems with swallowing and passage of food. In some cases, brachytherapy is combined with external radiotherapy.
Preparation for Treatment
On the eve of the procedure, the patient consults an oncologist. The physician clarifies the complaints, reviews the case history and conducts a clinical examination.
To obtain a complete picture of the disease, the patient is prescribed:
- blood counts (for tumor markers, biochemical and complete)
- abdominal ultrasound,
- MRI or CT scan of the abdomen and thorax,
- gastroscopy with biopsy.
According to the test findings, the professional makes a decision on therapy applicability.
With the help of a probe, the applicator containing a radioactive source is introduced into the esophagus lumen. For high-dosage therapy, the samples is left in the body for a few minutes, and for a low-dose therapy, it remains in the body for 1 to 2 days. In the latter case, the patient is admitted to the hospital to prevent radiation exposure to surrounding people.
Brachytherapy is performed under local anesthesia. As regards side effects, the patient may experience pain and malaise. To remove the adverse symptoms, the patients are prescribed a set of drugs. The treatment is carried out under strict medical supervision.
After applicator removal, the patient stops irradiating, so, if s/he feels good, s/he may leave the hospital immediately. Before discharge, the oncologist performs examination and provides recommendations for further treatment.Hide