How is Brachytherapy Used to Treat Colon Cancer?

Brachytherapy treatment for colon cancer explained.

BrachytherapyBrachytherapy, or the treatment of cancer by the insertion of radioactive implants directly into the tissue, is generally only used in very specialized cases in colon cancer. For example, if  during surgert a surgeon has to remove some of the disease from another organ during surgery and feels that the entire disease has not been removed, the surgeon will will go in and put some what we call “brachytherapy catheters.”

A brachytherapy catheter is a hollow catheter that are placed in the surgical bed (the area where the tumor used to be) and then once surgery is done, radiation seeds will then be implanted through the hollow catheters in order to treat that surgical bed and kill off any microscopic or any even obvious disease that might remain. Dr. Murty explains further in the video below:

Murali G. Murty MD:  Here is what I tell my patients about brachytherapy in the treatment of colon cancer: Brachytherapy is used in very specialized cases in colon cancer.

Typically, if a surgeon has to peel off some of the disease from another organ during surgery and feels that he or she has not been able to remove the entire disease, we will go in and put some what we call “brachytherapy catheters.” These are hollow catheters that are placed in the surgical bed, meaning the area where the tumor used to be. Then once surgery is done, we will then put in some radiation seeds through those hollow catheters in order to treat that surgical bed and kill off any microscopic or any even obvious disease that might be there.

We also employ what is called intraoperative radiotherapy, meaning radiation therapy done during surgery after the removal of a tumor. So if a surgeon feels that he or she has not been able to remove the disease in its entirety and feels that there might be some microscopic disease there or even some visible disease there, we will use a machine in the operating room focus the beam of radiation on the surgical bed to help kill off microscopic disease and maximize the chance of local control.

Dr. Murali Murty
Dr. Murty received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry - New Jersey Medical school. He completed his internship in internal medicine and residency in radiation oncology at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia where he served as Chief Resident. He has done research and published on the radiotherapeutic treatment of squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck of unknown origin and total mesorectal excision of rectal cancers. His publications also include a book chapter on the radiation of vascular tumors of the ocular fundus.


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