Health Team

Duke hospital makes treatment of certain cancers more convenient

Duke Radiation Hospital is making a form of treatment - called brachytherapy - more convenient for patients.

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DURHAM COUNTY, N.C. — For prostate and certain gynecologic cancers, a treatment option called brachytherapy can lead to better outcomes.

"It allows us to deliver a high dose of radiation into exactly where it needs to and limit the amount of radiation elsewhere," said Dr. Junzo Chino with Duke Radiation Oncology.

The center is making it more convenient for patients to undergo the procedure.

What used to take five days in the hospital now happens on an outpatient basis with three-to-four-hour sessions over five days, thanks to the specialized setup at Duke.

Advanced imaging and treatment planning occurs under one roof at Duke. Imaging combined with real-time ultrasound helps Chino place applicators that deliver radiation.

Chino says that inpatient brachytherapy with long hospital stays might have contributed to fewer people choosing the treatment.

He says research links not having the treatment leads to a decrease in patient survival.

"In fact, as many as a third of patients have a worse outcome because they're not getting brachytherapy," Chino said.

That is why the suite was designed to make treatments more convenient and more effective for patients.


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