Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Radiation Oncology

pp 386-386

Intracavitary Brachytherapy

  • Christin A. KnowltonAffiliated withDepartment of Radiation Oncology, Drexel University Email author 
  • , Michelle Kolton MackayAffiliated withDepartment of Radiation Oncology, Marshfield Clinic
  • , Erik van LimbergenAffiliated withDepartment of Radiation Oncology, University Hospital Gasthuisberg


Brachytherapy, derived from the Greek term for “close” therapy, refers to placing a radiation source in or close to the tumor region. Intracavitary means the placement of the brachytherapy delivery device in a body cavity, such as in the vagina for endometrial cancer, as opposed to directly into tissue. With endometrial cancer, brachytherapy is often used to treat the vaginal cuff in postoperative patients to allow a higher dose to this region with limited side effects.

Brachytherapy sources are contained by dedicated applicators designed for cervical, endometrial, and vaginal as well as nasopharyngeal cancers. Nowadays they are made of carbon, plastic (MRI compatible), or metal (MRI compatible when made of Titanium): Standardized: Fletcher-type with intrauterine catheter and two vaginal catheters with ovoids, Stockholm type with intrauterine tube and endovaginal ring, or individualized Pierquin-Chassagne type individualized molds.


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