Prostate Seed Brachytherapy

Prostate cancer is the model cancer for brachytherapy. The prostate gland is located under the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is vital that radiation therapy be focused in the prostate to avoid significant side effects. The prostate gland is also close enough to the skin that it can be easily reached to place the permanent seed implants.

Approximately 100 radioactive seeds are injected into the prostate gland. They give off their radiation at a low dose rate over several weeks or months, and then the seeds remain in the prostate gland permanently.

What Does HDR Treatment for Prostate Cancer Involve?

This treatment frequently consists of a combination of two separate therapies:

  1. Moderate doses of External Beam Radiotherapy
  2. Low Dose Rate Prostate Seed Brachytherapy

External beam radiation is often included because cancer cells may migrate outside the prostate gland, known as extra-prostatic extension. Treatments like a radical prostatectomy and permanent seed implant alone may miss cancer cells which have escaped outside the prostate into the surrounding tissues.

Scans like CT, MRI, ultrasound, and Prostascint may not detect cancer cells that have spread outside the prostate. Even though these scans may not show cancer spread beyond the prostate capsule, it can still be present. External beam radiation helps to target those areas surrounding the prostate gland.

The procedure usually takes between one and three hours on an outpatient basis, with patients typically returning to their normal activities within a day or two.