About Brachytherapy

At The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre we currently offer brachytherapy for prostate, cervix, endometrium, rectum and skin cancer.

Brachytherapy delivers radiation into body cavities or tissues using hollow tubes known as applicators and is ideal to treat tissue that is close to the applicator. An applicator is put in place just before each treatment session.

The radiation comes from a small solid radioactive source that is stored in a specialised treatment machine. During treatment the radioactive source travels down a tube, into the applicator, delivers the radiation as per your specific treatment plan and is then automatically returned to the machine.

You are NOT radioactive following your HDR Brachytherapy treatment and are therefore fine to be around children and anyone who is pregnant after your treatment. Brachytherapy can be delivered alone or can be combined with external beam radiotherapy (EBRT).

Where is the Brachytherapy department?

You can find our purpose built brachytherapy suite at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre - Liverpool, on Floor 1.

What happens on the day of your appointment?

The exact procedure used to deliver the treatment depends on the type of cancer being treated.

The leaflets below will give you specific information about your appointments, preparation, what to expect on the day, possible side effects and follow up. You can access theses leaflets here.

  • High dose (HDR) brachytherapy to the vaginal vault
  • Treatment of prostate cancer with high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy
  • High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy for skin cancer
  • High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy for cancer of the cervix

Some of these procedures require a general anaesthetic, this will be discussed with you by the brachytherapy team prior to your appointment.

There may be some waiting times between the stages of your treatment so please feel free to bring a book, computer tablet or phone with you. There is free hospital WIFI available for patients and visitors.

Brachytherapy for cancer of the cervix

In the video below the team explain the principles of Brachytherapy for cancer of the cervix, to show you what to expect ahead of your first appointment.

Who will I meet?

We have a highly experienced team who work and specialise in brachytherapy to make sure all patients have the best possible treatment and care available. You may not meet all of the team as some work behind the scenes. Our team is made up of:

  • Clinical oncologists
  • Therapy radiographers
  • Anaesthetists
  • Theatre practitioners
  • Operating department practitioners
  • Recovery nurses
  • Physicists
  • Porters
  • Radiologists
  • Diagnostic radiographers
  • Treatment coordinators & booking clerks

What are the side effects?

Short term side effects arising from your brachytherapy tend to be minimal as the treatment is confined to a small area but they may still occur. You will have the opportunity to discuss these prior to consent. If you have a side affects you are worried about please feel free to contact the brachytherapy clinical specialist.

Please see patient information leaflets for further details, you can access them here.

What happens at the end of treatment?

On the last day of your treatment the radiographers explain that the treatment will carry on working for up to three weeks after brachytherapy. A follow up appointment will be made with your clinical oncologist. A letter will be sent to your GP summarising your treatment in detail. You are free to contact the department at any time after your treatment has finished should you have any concerns or questions.

Contact details

Brachytherapy Clinical Specialist Radiographer

Direct dial 0151 556 5342

The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre Hotline 0800 169 5555

If you are unwell during or up to 8 weeks following your cancer treatment please call The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre Hotline.

Your call will be answered by a dedicated nurse advisor. This line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.