Brachytherapy cost in India

Brachytherapy in India

Brachytherapy is a radiation therapy that is used to treat cancer by placing radioactive sources near tumors and cancer cells. It is also known as internal radiation therapy. It is primarily of three types: Unsealed Internal Radiation Therapy, Interstitial Treatment, and Intracavitary Treatment. Hospitals offering Brachytherapy Treatment in India have state of the art equipment including radiotherapy equipment as well as the personnel to handle such complex instruments. 

In contrast to external radiation, brachytherapy has lesser risks and side effects and lower time of treatment. Brachytherapy has achieved a high success rate in India, especially in cases of prostate cancer.

Cost Comparison

In India, the practice of brachytherapy is still not widespread, except at a few elite and private institutions. However, that said, India still offers competitive brachytherapy treatment compared to other countries such as the US and the UK. There are a number of premier hospitals with state of the art facilities offering the treatment to those with sufficient wherewithal. The cost of treatment varies depending on the type of cancer, from USD $900 for eye cancer to USD $7,500 for prostate cancer.

Treatment and Cost

21

Total Days
In Country

2 No. Travelers

1 Day in Hospital

20 Days Outside Hospital

Treatment cost starts from

USD 800

Hospitals

About the Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy. It is also known as internal radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment in which ionizing radiation is used to destroy cancer cells and shrink the size of the tumors. The conventional form of radiation therapy is external beam radiation that projects radiation from a machine outside of the body. In case of internal radiation or brachytherapy, radioactive particles or sources that are internally placed in or next to the tumour site, are used to destroy cancer cells. Brachytherapy helps deliver a high radiation dose to the tumor, with minimal exposure to the surrounding healthy tissues.It thus allows delivering high doses of radiation to more-specific areas of the body.

Brachytherapy can be used for effective treatment of cervical, prostate, breast, skin, lung, head and neck, and gum cancer, in addition to tumors located in other parts of the body. Brachytherapy for prostate cancer is a commonly performed procedure. It is also used for the treatment of gum cancer as well. Brachytherapy is an alternative treatment for gum cancer and is conducted who are unfit to undergo a surgery or do not need one.

Brachytherapy can be completed in less time than other conventional radiotherapy techniques. Brachytherapy for prostate cancer and other cancers is often performed on an outpatient basis and patients typically have to take fewer brachytherapy sessions, as compared to external radiotherapy treatment for cancer. This makes brachytherapy more accessible and convenient to many patients. Most of the patients are able to tolerate brachytherapy very well with fewer side effects.

Types of Brachytherapy

There are two types of brachytherapy treatment:

  • Temporary brachytherapy:

    In this method, highly radioactive particles are placed in a catheter or slender tube for a specific amount of time and then withdrawn. Temporary brachytherapy can be administered at either low-dose rate (LDR) or high-dose-rate (HDR).

  • Permanent brachytherapy:

    In this method, a radioactive seed or pellet is implanted in or near the tumor and left there permanently. After a period of several months, the radioactivity level of the implanted seed eventually diminishes to nothing.

How is Brachytherapy performed?

Brachytherapy treatment plan is created and governed by a radiation oncologist, who is a highly trained physician specializing in treating cancer with radiotherapy. The radiation oncologist will require a team, including a medical physicist, dosimetrist, radiation therapist, radiation therapy nurse and in some cases, a surgeon to conduct the procedure. However, the radiation oncologist is the one who evaluates the patient and determines the appropriate therapy, including how much radiation to deliver.

In permanent brachytherapy, needles that are pre-filled with the radioactive brachytherapy seeds are inserted into the tumor. Then the needle or device is removed, leaving the radioactive seeds behind. Sometimes these seeds may be implanted in sessions using a device that inserts them individually at regular intervals. An appropriate imaging means such as an ultrasound, X-ray, MRI or CT scan may be used to assist the physician in positioning brachytherapy seeds at the right place. After implantation, some additional imaging can be done to verify seed placement.

Temporary brachytherapy starts with placing a delivery device, such as a catheter, needle, or applicator, into the tumor. Methods of imaging such as an ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan will help position the radiation sources correctly. The delivery device can either be inserted into a body cavity such as vagina (intracavitary brachytherapy) or applicators such as needles or catheters can be inserted into body tissues (interstitial brachytherapy). Device implantation will depend on the location of cancer.

Radiation using brachytherapy procedure can be delivered at three different levels:

  • High-dose-rate (HDR):

    HDR brachytherapy is given for over 10 to 20 minutes per session, but it can take several hours worth of preparation, which includes device placement. HDR brachytherapy is mostly conducted as an outpatient procedure, although sometimes patients are admitted for one to two days to have several HDR brachytherapy sessions using the same applicator.

    HDR brachytherapy delivers a specified dose of radiation to the tumor in a short burst using a remote-afterloading machine. This will help protect the patient from unnecessary exposure to radiation. This procedure can be repeated a couple of times on the same day.
  • Low-dose rate (LDR):

    LDR is delivered at a continuous rate of radiation for over 20 to 50 minutes. The patient needs overnight hospitalization so the delivery device can remain in place throughout the treatment. The radiation oncologist may insert the radioactive particle manually through the delivery device and remove the material and delivery device after the treatment.

  • Pulsed dose-rate (PDR):

    PDR brachytherapy is delivered in a similar way of LDR, but the treatment takes place in periodic pulses instead of continuous radiation. 

Recovery from Brachytherapy

For patients who have received brachytherapy for prostate cancer or any other types of cancer, limiting physical activity for at least three to five days is important. You can experience some level of grogginess after the procedure, however, it will last for only a few hours. You will be prescribed a few emergency medicines that you can take in case you experience pain or any other type of discomfort.

There are some side effects associated with all kinds of radiation therapy. However, the acute, sub-acute, or long-term side effects of brachytherapy depend on the location of the tumor being treated and the type of brachytherapy being used.

Some acute side effects of brachytherapy are

  • Localized bruising,
  • Bleeding, swelling,
  • Fatigue and discomfort within the implanted region.

But these are temporary side effects and usually resolve within a few days following completion of treatment.

Usually, brachytherapy does not cause any long-term side effects, but in a few cases, it may cause urinary and digestive problems. But in that case as well, long-term side effects are usually mild or moderate in nature and there are many palliative medicines that are available to cope with the symptoms.

Patient Stories

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average cost of Brachytherapy in India?

The average cost of brachytherapy in India (complete course) ranges between $1500 and $5000. This cost range is inclusive of the treatment, doctor’s fee, planning sessions, pre-procedure investigations, and follow-ups. The cost is not inclusive of a hotel stay, meals outside of hospital stay, and any other treatment that may be required alongside.

What are the factors affecting the cost of brachytherapy in India?

The factors that affect brachytherapy cost in India include the following: 

  • The type of cancer that the patient is suffering from
  • Stage, grade, and location of the cancer
  • Clinical status of the patient
  • Type of hospital and city it is located in 
  • Investigations required
  • The expertise of the specialist
  • Unforeseen expenses
Which are the top hospitals for Brachytherapy in India?

Some of the top hospitals or brachytherapy include the following:

  • Apollo Hospital, Chennai
  • Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram
  • Artemis Hospital, Gurugram
  • Gleneagles Global Hospital, Chennai
  • BGS Gleneagles Hospital, Bangalore
  • Dharamshila Narayana Cancer Hospital, New Delhi
  • Medanta The Medicity, Gurugram
  • HCG Oncology, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Hyderabad
  • American Oncology Institute, Hyderabad
  • Max Superspecialty Hospital Saket, New Delhi
  • Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai
Who are the top doctors for Brachytherapy in India?

The following are the top doctors for brachytherapy: 

  • Dr. Vineeta Goel, Max Superspecialty Hospital Saket, New Delhi
  • Dr. Nagraj G Huilgol, Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai
  • Dr. Tejinder Kataria, Medanta The Medicity, Gurugram
  • Dr. S Hukku, BLK Superspecialty Hospital, New Delhi
  • Dr. Ramesh S Bilimaga, HCG Oncology, Bangalore
  • Dr. Ishita B Sen, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram
  • Dr. Sudarsan De, Jaypee Hospital, Noida
  • Dr. Mirza Athar Ali, American Oncology Institute, Hyderabad
  • Dr. Bharat Dua, Venkateshwar Hospital, New Delhi
What is the success rate of Brachytherapy in India?

The success rate of brachytherapy in India varies from one patient to the other. Several factors are considered while preparing the treatment plan for brachytherapy. 

Brachytherapy is available for the treatment of different types of cancer, including the following: 

  • Prostate cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Eye cancer
  • Gall bladder cancer

The pros and cons of brachytherapy for the treatment of each of these cancer types are different. They should be thoroughly discussed with the specialist to have clarity on the expected success rates.

FAQ's Related to India

What healthcare accreditation standards are followed in India?

India has two accreditation standards for its healthcare organisations. National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers has been recognised as one of these standards. A benchmark has been set by National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH). The second accreditation is Joint Commission International whose quality benchmark is sought after by so many different healthcare providers.

Which are the popular multispecialty hospital groups in India?

The best multispecialty hospitals offering world-class medical treatment at affordable cost are in India. All kinds of surgeries are offered at these multispecialty hospitals. These wonderful hospitals incorporate even the general medical needs of patients. The hospitals that are providing the best treatment in India are:

  1. BLK Super Specialty, Delhi
  2. Medanta Medicity Hospital, Gurgaon,
  3. Apollo Hospital, Delhi
  4. Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai
  5. Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon
  6. Fortis Hospital, Noida
Why should I opt for healthcare in India?

A large number of medical tourists visit India every year due to low-cost treatment and modern infrastructure. Indian hospitals adhere to international health standards and use high end technologies that are at par with the western world. India has a large pool of highly professional, competent, and qualified doctors who are known for providing treatment with high precision and accuracy. India has several things going for it that ensures that it is the most favored destination for medical travelers such as ease of communication, ease of travel, alternative treatment availability and visa assistance.

How is the quality of doctors in India?

The proficiency of Indian doctors is well considered the world over considering their excellent skills and the precision with which they apply the skills to treat patients. Their confidence in meeting and overcoming newer healthcare challenges has ensured that doctors in India are sought after by patients all over the world. Indian medical fraternity boasts of being an alumni of the best educational institutions in the world. Indian doctors and surgeons strive to provide you with the best of medical care so that you feel right at home.

When traveling to India for medical treatment, what essential documents do I need to carry along?

Packing is always an important part when you are traveling to another country for medical treatment. When traveling to India for your treatment, you need to carry travel documents, medical documents and get your finances ready. The required documents are outlined here:

  1. Letter from the hospital indicating duration and purpose of treatment
  2. Medical reports,
  3. Passport,
  4. Tourist Visa Category MT,
  5. To and Fro flight tickets,
  6. Recent bank statement (incase of family bank statement proof of relationship).
What are the popular procedures available in India?

There are so many different popular procedures that are being performed on a regular basis in India such as the ones listed below:

  1. Valvular Heart Surgery
  2. Knee Replacement Surgery
  3. Bone Marrow Transplant
  4. Lung Transplant
  5. Thoracic Surgery
  6. LVAD Implantation
  7. Meniscus Repair Surgery
  8. CT Coronary Angiogram
  9. Hand Surgery
  10. Heart Blockage Treatment
  11. Hip Resurfacing Surgery
  12. Interventional Cardiography,
  13. Angioplasty
  14. Cochlear Implant
  15. Pacemaker Implantation
  16. Robotic Heart Surgery
  17. Coronary Heart Disease Treatment
  18. Coronary Angioplasty
  19. Bariatric Surgery
  20. Chemotherapy
  21. Ankle Replacement
  22. Kidney Transplant

The popular procedures performed in India are upgraded regularly with the increasing advancements in the medical and surgical fields. The good quality of doctors who are providing treatment and performing surgeries at economical prices has led to the growth in procedures like heart surgeries, orthopaedic procedures, organ transplants and in treatment of cancer in India. The steep rise in the number of popular procedures performed regularly in India is also because of a number of good hospitals and related healthcare facilities.

Is it mandatory to take vaccinations before going to India?

Any international travel requires vaccinations and up-to-date immunizations. It is essential for medical travellers coming to India as well to get protection from different diseases. The travel advisory issued by the Indian government or the hospital is the right source for complete information on vaccination guidelines. Your India visit would be safer if you have vaccinated yourself with hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Covid, typhoid fever, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, DPT, measles, yellow fever medicines.

What are the other facilities provided by hospitals?

Hospitals in India offer world-class facilities to international patients to ensure safety and comfort throughout their stay in India. In India, the hospitals have seamlessly functioning international patient care centers that provide all kinds of assistance to medical tourists. Your needs and requirements as a medical traveller in India are met by the hospitals by going the extra mile. Some of the facilities available at hospitals in India are room reservation, visa assistance, embassy assistance, hotel services/apartment bookings, language interpretation services, tele-consults, and pre departure evaluation.

What are the major medical tourism destinations in India?

The urban centers such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata are medical tourism destinations in India. The world class medical services in India make it a medical tourism hub. Owing to the availability of exceptional medical facilities, the patient care and all round medical care at affordable prices have made India an attraction for tourists. Medical tourism destinations in India are growing fast and growing well, this is in no small measure to the promotion of the sector by the Government of India in collaboration with the private players.