Your Treatment Options
Brachytherapy for Prostate Cancer
Prostate brachytherapy is a specialized, targeted procedure used in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Overview of the Prostate Brachytherapy Procedure:
The prostate brachytherapy procedure involves the precise placement of radioactive seeds or sources directly into the prostate gland. These sources emit very confined radiation, targeting and destroying cancer cells while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissues. Brachytherapy can be utilized as the primary treatment or in combination with other therapies for localized prostate cancer.
Low Dose Rate (LDR) Brachytherapy:
LDR brachytherapy for prostate cancer is a permanent treatment option where small radioactive seeds are implanted within the prostate. These seeds emit a continuous low dose of radiation over time, gradually losing their radioactivity. LDR brachytherapy is typically performed as a one-time procedure, providing long-term localized radiation therapy to eradicate cancer cells.
High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy:
HDR brachytherapy for prostate cancer delivers a higher dose of radiation in a shorter period. Temporary catheters or applicators are inserted into the prostate, and a high dose of radiation is administered over several minutes. The radiation sources are removed after each session, with no radioactivity remaining between sessions. HDR brachytherapy is usually administered in multiple sessions over a few weeks.
Benefits of the Prostate Brachytherapy Procedure:
- Targeted radiation: allows for precise delivery of radiation directly to the prostate, maximizing the dose to cancer cells while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissues
- Effective Local Control: demonstrated favorable outcomes in achieving local control and treating prostate cancer, particularly in cases of localized disease
- Convenience: well-tolerated procedure that can be completed in a shorter treatment time compared to other radiation therapy options
Potential Side Effects of the Prostate Brachytherapy Procedure:
While the prostate brachytherapy procedure is generally well-tolerated, there are potential side effects to be aware of. Common side effects may include urinary symptoms, such as increased frequency or urgency, erectile dysfunction, and bowel changes. These side effects are typically temporary and can be managed with appropriate medical guidance and support.
Both LDR and HDR brachytherapy for prostate cancer techniques provide effective tumor control with favorable outcomes. Discussing the benefits, risks, and potential side effects of the prostate brachytherapy procedure with your doctor is important for making an informed decision about your prostate cancer treatment.