Prostate Cancer Treatment Brachytherapy – Advantages and Disadvantages

Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is a procedure in which ionizing radiation is employed from a controlled source in order to treat certain diseases in the human body.

In prostate cancer treatments, radiation therapy makes use of beams of x-rays or gamma rays to destroy or damage the DNA of cancer cells in the body – wherever they may have progressed to in the body. This allows for radiotherapy to be useful in treating all stages of the condition. Incidentally, other cells (normal ones) in the body are also damaged in the process; but whereas they can recuperate and regenerate, the cancerous cells cannot and die off. 

Brachytherapy is a form radiation therapy that makes use of an internal source of radiation in order to kill the cancer, usually used when the prostate cancer cells are still in the prostate gland and have not spread (or metastasized) to other locations across the body.

Brachytherapy for prostate cancer is administered using “seeds,” small radioactive rods implanted directly into the tumor. Also referred to as permanent implant brachytherapy, it actually is a popular treatment choice for patients who have low risk features of the disease or of relapse.

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Men with intermediate risk features may also be treated by it though.

Brachytherapy is a process in which about a hundred small ‘seeds’ of radioactive material are placed inside of the prostate gland with the aid of a needle through the skin of the perineum, and directly into the tumor while it is still in the prostate gland. The radioactive materials normally used in this procedure are iodine-125 or palladium-103, although there are others that have similar effects in the therapy. The operation may be carried out under a spinal anesthetic, but if the patient desires it or the surgeon thinks it is necessary, general anesthetic may be used also.

The seeds, once inserted in the prostate, carry on to emit lower-energy x-rays that typically travel only a short distance within the organ without doing a lot of damage to other organs or cells in the body. The seeds do eventually become inert, but they remain in the prostate gland permanently on permanent residency. But the risk of radiation exposure to others from patients treated with the implanted seeds is generally not thought to be significant enough to cause worry.

Advantages/Merits of Brachytherapy

One of the many merits of brachytherapy, especially over conventional external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) is that it can be performed on an outpatient basis.

Another advantage is that the procedure is associated with good 10-year outcomes while also guaranteeing relatively low morbidity.

However it is only applicable in early stage disease: later stages may employ a combination therapy of both EBRT and radiation therapy.

Disadvantages/Side Effects Of Brachytherapy

The side effects of both are similar – radiation proctitis, impotence, and incontinence; and typically they were off as the radiation does as well.

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  2. Are You Aware Of The Problem And Beauty Of Prostate Cancer Brachytherapy?
  3. Prostate Cancer Percent Treated By Brachytherapy
  4. Prostate Cancer Percent Treated by Brachytherapy – Prostate Cancer Radioactive Seed Impants
  5. Prostate Brachytherapy And IMRT -Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy

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