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What is Brachytherapy for Prostate Cancer?

Did you know that the addition of brachytherapy as a prostate cancer treatment increases the 9-year success rate from 62 percent to 83 percent? According to the ACS, successful brachytherapy treatment increases for those with intermediate to high-risk cancer. The benefits of brachytherapy are important because it can help the recovery process and save lives.

The History of Brachytherapy

Since the early 1900s, doctors have used brachytherapy to treat prostate cancer. In 1906, Alexander Graham Bell argued in support of brachytherapy’s role in prostate cancer treatments. In 1916, the first procedure was performed. Over the years as technology has developed, dramatic advances in prostate brachytherapy have occurred as well. Improved equipment for visualization of the prostate and placement of radioactive sees allow for a delivery of high dosage radiation to the prostate, while minimizing the dosage to surrounding organs. The development and utilization of computer systems has increased the accuracy and precision of brachytherapy. As a result, prostate brachytherapy has become a well known, popular form of treatment option for patients diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer.


The Brachytherapy Procedure

The best candidates for the brachytherapy procedure are typically ones with a prostate tumor that is confined to the prostate gland and has a very low risk of spreading. This is known as monotherapy, or one treatment. Brachytherapy is also suggested for those with intermediate or a high risk of prostate cancer. The implantation of radioactive seeds is often combined with external beam radiation, and/or hormone therapy. This is referred to as combination therapy. Your physician has the skill and expertise to guide you toward a treatment plan that is most appropriate for you. The brachytherapy treatment is not appropriate for patients whose cancer has already spread beyond the prostate. 


On the day of the procedure, patients usually arrive one hour early. A clear liquid diet and laxative are required the day before and nothing should be eaten after midnight the day of the procedure. These recommendations are in place to minimize gas and provide a better visualization of the prostate gland. During the operation, the placement of needles containing radioactive seeds are guided by the use of ultrasound and fluoroscopy. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, prostate brachytherapy can involve radiation dosages that last a few minutes and include several sessions. It can also consist of a permanent prostate brachytherapy where radioactive seeds are placed in the prostate gland and release radiation over a period of several months. Contact Chicago Prostate Cancer Center if you have any questions regarding the specifics of the brachytherapy procedure. 


Side Effects

Common side effects of the brachytherapy procedure include difficulty starting urination, frequently feeling an urgent need to urinate and others. For a more complete list of side effects for this procedure, visit this website. It’s important to note that doctors are aware of these side effects and often use medications to help reduce the side effects of treatment. Our professionals at Chicago Prostate Cancer Center would be happy to answer any questions pertaining side effects you may have during consultation. 


World Class Prostate Cancer Treatment in Chicago

The Chicago Prostate Cancer Center is committed to providing  comprehensive and compassionate treatment for prostate cancer patients using LDR Brachytherapy (radioactive seed implant). We pride ourselves on being a patient-centric facility with experienced, friendly staff and state-of-the-art equipment to ensure that our patients undergo a stress-free and comfortable prostate cancer treatment. 


Contact us to learn more.




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