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Brachytherapy

When would a patient be treated with brachytherapy?

Brachytherapy is a good alternative for patients seeking to minimise the side effects associated with radical surgery and radiotherapy.

 

Indications

For the treatment of localised prostate cancer.

 

Description of brachytherapy

Brachytherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the placement of radioactive iodine-125 titanium seeds directly into the prostate under ultrasound guidance.

 

How does it work?

Brachytherapy is a two-stage procedure requiring two (generally) outpatient admissions and anaesthetics. The first admission involves a 'pre-implant planning session' followed by a second admission, 2-4 weeks later, at which time the implant is carried out. No incision is necessary as the doctor implants the seeds by inserting needles into the skin between the scrotum and rectum.

 

Safety of brachytherapy

Because the seeds are implanted with a needle guided by ultrasound, the procedure is generally very well tolerated. Of 115 patients treated with brachytherapy between 2003 and 2005, 96% were discharged within 16 hours of the implant.

 

Average duration of brachytherapy

Patients are generally admitted as day cases on two separate occasions.

 

Supporting evidence

Outcomes for Prostate Brachytherapy are comparable to surgery, and long-term data shows that this therapy, when used to treat early, localised prostate cancer, has a relapse-free survival rate of 85%.

 

What it's replacing/is it additional?

Brachytherapy is an alternative to radical surgery and radiotherapy for patients with early, localised prostate cancer.

 

Benefits

  • Brachytherapy is a minimally invasive therapy that minimises damage to tissue surrounding the prostate.
  • Treatment can generally be completed with two outpatient visits, with minimal effects to surrounding tissues.
  • Patients can generally resume a normal lifestyle within a couple of days.

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