Prostate Cancer Percent Treated by Brachytherapy – Prostate Cancer Radioactive Seed Impants

Prostate cancer treatment has certainly evolved today into something a lot more promising than what was available only a few decades ago. It is hugely unfortunate that there is a higher incidence of disease in the United State and around the world today, but the improved diagnostic techniques and enhanced treatment methods have allowed for over ninety percent of all American prostate cancer cases to be diagnosed in the early stages of the disease and for most cases to be curable when treated at that early stage. Read the rest of this article to learn more about brachytherapy versus radiation prostate cancer or even about prostate cancer treatment brachytherapy.

Brachytherapy is one of the better known treatments for prostate cancer today, a form of radiation therapy that makes use of radioactive seed implants that are inserted through tiny surgical slits into the prostate gland and allowed to emit controlled ionizing radiation to kill the cancer cells in the organ. Also referred to as internal radiation therapy, brachytherapy requires a shorter stay in the hospital and often leaves behind no scars to show that the procedure has been carried out. Naturally a lot of patients would be inclined to opt for this procedure.

But is brachytherapy really applicable for every patient of prostate cancer?

Actually, no it isn’t. In treating prostate cancer, brachytherapy, now aided by surgical robotics is only very effective in curing early stage disease. When it must come up against later stages of the carcinoma, such as cancers that have spread out of the prostate gland, brachytherapy has to be blended with regular external beam radiation treatment. Advanced stage prostate cancer will require more of other forms of radiotherapy as well as other treatments.

How safe is the procedure?

Incredibly so. The seed implants for brachytherapy are relatively low-energy sources, and subsequently have limited tissue penetration. One of the biggest fears with prostate cancer radiotherapy is that of proctitis, which results from radiations exposure and often results in rectal bleeding and diarrhea. Brachytheraoy does not exactly eliminate these risks, but it lowers them to a significant degree. There are other side effects though, most of which are urinary in nature, but most of which are also short lived. The risk of infertility or impotence following the procedure is certainly lower than with external beam treatment; but the migration of seeds out of the treatment region may require some vigilance to filter urine in order to recover those radioactive seeds.

Who are the best candidates for brachytherapy?

Patients who have a cancer that is contained within the prostate and is not very aggressive. Anyone with a PSA level less than 10, a Gleason score less than or equal to six, and minimal abnormality on the occasion of a digital rectal exam will pass for the course of action. Anyone outside that range might be better served by other interventions.

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