Brachytherapy cost in South Africa

What is Brachytherapy?

Brachytherapy is a procedure of placing radioactive material inside the body of the patient to treat any sort of cancer. This process is often called internal radiation. Brachytherapy enables doctors to convey higher portions of radiation to progressively explicit regions of the body, contrasted and the regular type of radiation treatment (outer shaft radiation) that ventures radiation from a machine outside of your body. 

Brachytherapy may cause fewer reactions than does outer pillar radiation, and the general treatment time is typically shorter with brachytherapy.

Brachytherapy is used to treat several types of cancer, including:

  • Bile duct cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Eye cancer
  • Head and neck cancers
  • Lung cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Soft tissue cancers
  • Vaginal cancer

Symptoms of Brachytherapy

A portion of the symptoms of brachytherapy is like those seen with outside pillar radiation treatment, in spite of the fact that they are typically less extreme. 

Instances of intense or prompt symptoms include: 

  • Nearby swelling
  • Nearby wounding 
  • Release in instances of vaginal or womb cancer. 
  • Semen might be stained and, in uncommon cases, may contain ousted pellets. Patients are in this manner encouraged to utilize contraception during sex. 
  • Bleeding
  • Pain and discomfort at the site of the implant
  • The general sentiment of weariness 

Brachytherapy utilized for uterine, cervical, vaginal or prostate disease can prompt momentary urinary manifestations including urinary maintenance, torment on pee, incontinence, and failure to pee. Brachytherapy for these tumors can likewise prompt looseness of the bowels, stoppage and some rectal dying.

Factors affecting the cost of Brachytherapy

There can be varied factors that affect the costing of the procedure and many time external circumstances play an important role. The exact factors are:

  • State of the art technology
  • Brachytherapy isotope used
  • Individual spending capacity
  • Hospital allowances
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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

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the factors affecting the cost of Brachytherapy in South Africa?

The Brachytherapy package cost in South Africa varies from one hospital to another and may offer different benefits. The cost quoted by some of the best hospitals for Brachytherapy in South Africa generally covers the pre-surgery investigations of the patient. The Brachytherapy cost in South Africa includes the cost of anesthesia, medicines, hospitalization and the surgeon's fee. Extended hospital stay, complications after the surgery or new diagnosis may affect the overall cost of Brachytherapy in South Africa.

Which are some of the best clinics in South Africa for Brachytherapyt?

Many hospitals in South Africa perform Brachytherapy. The top hospitals for Brachytherapy in South Africa include the following:

  1. Life Kingsbury Hospital
  2. Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital
How many days does it take to recover post Brachytherapy in South Africa?

Upon discharge from the hospital after Brachytherapy in South Africa, the patients are advised to stay for about 21 days for recovery. This duration of stay is recommended to complete all the necessary follow-ups and control tests to ensure that the surgery was successful.

Which are some of the other popular destinations for Brachytherapy?

One of the topmost destinations for Brachytherapy is South Africa. It has a variety of accredited hospital, affordable cost of treatment and some of the best medical fraternity. Some of the other popular destinations for Brachytherapy include the following:

CountryCost
IndiaUSD 800
IsraelUSD 22500
SpainUSD 24000
ThailandUSD 4500
TurkeyUSD 4000
United Arab EmiratesUSD 6000
How much are the other expenses in South Africa apart from the cost of Brachytherapy?

Apart from the cost of Brachytherapy, the patient is also required to pay additionally for daily meals and guest house accommodation. These charges starts from USD 50 per person.

Which are the best cities in South Africa for Brachytherapy Procedure?

Some of the cpopular cities in South Africa that offer Brachytherapy include the following:

  1. Durban
  2. Cape Town
  3. Lenasia
  4. Johannesburg
How many days does one have to spend in the hospital for Brachytherapy in South Africa?

The patient is supposed to stay at the hospital for about 1 days after Brachytherapy for monitoring and care. The patient is subjected to several biochemistry and radiological scans to see that everything is okay and the recovery is on track. After making sure that patient is clinically stable, discharge is planned.

What is the average rating of Hospitals in South Africa offering Brachytherapy?

The average rating for Brachytherapy hospitals in South Africa is 2.9. This rating is calculated on the basis of different parameters such as attitude of the nurses, cleanliness, quality of food and the pricing policy.

How many hospitals offer Brachytherapy in South Africa?

There are more than 2 hospitals that offer Brachytherapy in South Africa. The above mentioned hospitals have the required infrastructure and a dedicated unit where patients can be treated. Such hospitals follow all legal protocols and guidelines as specified by the local medical affairs body when it comes to the treatment of international patients.

Who are the best doctors for Brachytherapy in South Africa?

Some of the best medical specialists for Brachytherapy in South Africa are:

  1. Dr. Nirasha Chiranjan
  2. Dr. Ronelle De Villiers
  3. Dr. Koos Bouwer
  4. Dr. Bernard Donde
  5. Dr. Omondi Ogude
  6. Dr. Sudeshen Naidoo

FAQ's Related to South Africa

Which are the popular multispecialty hospital groups in South Africa?

The popular multispecialty hospital groups in South Africa are:

  1. Ahmed Al-Kadi Private Hospital
  2. Busamed Hillcrest Private Hospital
  3. Busamed Gateway Private Hospital
  4. Busamed Modderfontein Private Hospital
  5. Busamed Lowveld Hospital
  6. Lenmed Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre
  7. Busamed Paardevlei Private Hospital
  8. Life Bay View Private Hospital
  9. Lenmed Shifa Hospital

The performance of these hospitals have been evaluated on the below parameters:

  1. Providing clear information about medicines to patients
  2. Effective engagement between nursing staff/doctors and patients;
  3. Suitability of the hospital environment for meeting the needs of patients
  4. Effectively managing pain.

South Africa is known to have strict government regulations for controlling the quality of care provided by the government and private hospitals. The hospitals are backed with state-of-art infrastructure, the latest medical equipment, and well-trained doctors and offer world-class facilities to enhance the patient experience.

What healthcare accreditation standards are followed in South Africa?

The hospitals in South Africa receive accreditation from Joint Commission International (JCI) and Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA). To ensure that integrated and coordinated care is provided, COHSASA develops as well as measures standards in all areas and departments of a healthcare facility. SafeCare program has been introduced by COHSASA, JCI, and SafeCare Foundation to use internationally recognized standards to improve health care delivery. Hospitals and clinics that initially and meet standards are awarded two-year accreditations and as the journey in excellence continues, awards of longer duration are given.

Why should I opt for healthcare in South Africa?

One of the leading medical tourism destinations, South Africa offers affordable healthcare and has superior infrastructure. South Africa’s growing popularity in medical tourism is also attributed to factors like a large pool of accredited hospitals, advanced technology, world-class facilities provided by hospitals, global exposure of doctors. South Africa’s recent advancement in stem cell therapy has made it one of the most preferred countries for seeking advanced medical treatment. The hospitals in South Africa strive to take the stress out of your medical holiday by helping you with all kinds of organization and administrative tasks, as well as provide all-inclusive care and assistance on a 24/7 basis.

How is the quality of doctors in South Africa?

The doctors in South Africa strive to provide quality treatment utilizing their deep subject knowledge and hands-on experience in handling various complex cases. Many doctors in South Africa receive their training in foreign countries like Australia and Cuba which provide them global exposure and make them more competent in handling cases with high precision and accuracy. Doctors in South Africa are known for their deep expertise in dental procedures and fertility treatments. There are several reasons why South Africa has a large pool of quality doctors, such as education at reputed colleges, compliance with global standards, using human touch in treatment, and adopting a patient-centric approach.

How to obtain a medical visa in South Africa?

A person can apply for a medical visa to South Africa for a period of 90 days. The High Commission helps one decide for how long a visa can be extended. People who require medical treatment for longer than three months must apply for a temporary residency permit. An application for a visa is not accepted more than 30 days prior to departure and the validity of a visa begins from the date of issue by the Consulate of India in South Africa and not from the date of travel. Here is a list of documents that you will require for applying for a medical visa:

  1. Passport
  2. Passport-sized photographs
  3. Online Application form
  4. Full return flight reservation
  5. Proof of stay in South Africa
  6. Signed official medical letter from medical institution
  7. Signed medical letter from a recognized local practitioner
What are the popular procedures available in South Africa?

Some popular procedures available in South Africa are hip replacement, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, total knee replacement, meniscus repairs. Some other procedures which have gained popularity in South Africa are cosmetic surgery and infertility treatment. Egg donation program is available in South Africa and it is even possible to select your donor, as well as gives you the option of having a surgical or non-surgical procedure, all with very low waiting times. People select South Africa to avail these procedures due to several reasons, such as world-class hospitals with superior infrastructure and highly-skilled doctors, fast recovery, and use of cutting-edge medical technology.

Which are the most popular cities in South Africa for medical treatment?

Top destinations for medical tourism in South Africa are Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban. Cape Town a major tourist attraction that has a rich culture, world-class doctors, and modern health facilities. The reasons for the popularity of these cities are multiple food options, connectivity through airlines, and cheap accommodation. Healthcare in Johannesburg is similar to Great Britain’s health care, and the city’s public and private healthcare sectors work hand in hand with South Africa's medical schools to create internationally recognized medical specialists.

Is it mandatory to take vaccinations before going to South Africa?

Yes, vaccination is compulsory before visiting South Africa. The vaccines recommended by WHO and the National Travel Health Network and Centre are Rabies and tetanus, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, Yellow fever, hepatitis A. Make sure that infants of age 6 to 11 months get measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before they travel to South Africa. Typhoid vaccine is recommended for most travellers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas. You need to keep yourself updated with vaccination guidelines issued by the government. Also, check with the doctor, the government authority, or hospitals in South Africa as to what vaccination should be taken.

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