The rise in the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer has led to a growing need for improved treatment options that can offer excellent cure rates with minimal side effects at a low cost. Brachytherapy has numerous advantages over other treatment options.
Cure rates in low risk patients are equal to or better than surgery or external beam radiation. For intermediate and high-risk patients, brachytherapy combined with EBRT has resulted in superior outcomes when compared to surgery.1, 2
With the seed implant, there are no incisions or stitches required such as in the case of surgery. Furthermore, there is minimal, if any, post-operative pain.3
When looking at urinary side effects, incontinence rates are usually less than 1%4. For surgery, rates can be as high as 10%5.
Approximately 6-25% of patients who receive brachytherapy will experience a decrease in sexual function6 versus approximately 50% of patients who undergo surgery7. Erectile medications and other aids have proven to be very effective.
When compared to EBRT, patients undergoing prostate brachytherapy experience much lower rates of bowel irritation with prostate brachytherapy8.
Since brachytherapy is an outpatient procedure, no hospital stay is required. Furthermore, the seed implant is complete in one visit whereas a number of months are required to complete a course of external beam radiation. Patients are not required to take weeks off of work such as in surgery. As we see younger and younger patients with full-time jobs, it is important that they do not interrupt their work schedule for a prolonged period of time. Patients are able to resume normal activity within a day.
Blood loss during an implant is minimal when compared to surgery9.
When compared to prostatectomy (surgical removal) or many weeks of external beam radiation, prostate brachytherapy is the most cost-effective ment10.
- Klein, E. Cleveland Clinic Localized Prostate Cancer Registry. In low-risk prostate cancer, quality of life is key to treatment choice. Urology Times, August 1, 2008.
- Bittner, N et al. Interstitial brachytherapy should be standard of care for treatment of high-risk prostate cancer. Oncology. August 2008, p. 995-1017.
- Moran BJ, Gurel MH, Visockis J, Geary P. Post-operative pain and prostate brachytherapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2003; 54: Issue 2 Supplement 0.
- Feigenberg SJ, Lee WR, Desilvio ML, et alL Health-related quality of life in men receiving prostate brachytherapy on RTOG 98-05. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2005 Jul 15;62(4):956-64.
- Steineck G, Helgesen F, Adolfsson J, et al: Quality of life after radical prostatectomy or watchful waiting. N Engl J Med. 2002 Sep 12;347(11):790-6.
- Robinson JW, Moritz S, Fung T. Meta-analysis of rates of erectile function after treatment of localized prostate carcinoma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2002 Nov 15;54(4):1063-8.
- Frank, SJ et al. An assessment of quality of life following radical prostatectomy, high dose external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy iodine implantation as monotherapies for localized prostate cancer. J Urol. 2007 Jun;177(6) 2151-6.
- Zelefsky MJ, Fuks Z, Hunt M, et al: High-dose intensity modulated radiation therapy for prostate cancer: early toxicity and biochemical outcome in 772 patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2002 Aug 1;53(5):1111-6.
- Rassweiler J, Hruza M, Teber D, et al: Laparoscopic and robotic assisted radical prostatectomy–critical analysis of the results. Eur Urol. 2006 Apr;49(4):612-24
- Quang et al. Technologic evolution in the treatment of prostate cancer. Oncology (21) 13. 1598-1603.