10 Things You Need To Know About LDR Brachytherapy
Following a diagnosis of prostate cancer there are various treatment options available. Some of these will depend upon the stage of the cancer but if the cancer is localised to the prostate gland brachytherapy may be a suitable treatment. With 1 in 8 men diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives, it’s important to understand the treatment options available. Here are 10 things you should know about brachytherapy:
- Prostate brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy. It is sometimes referred to as low dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy or seed implantation.
- Brachytherapy has been used as a treatment for prostate cancer for over 25 years. The name comes from the Greek word ‘brachys’, meaning short distance
- LDR brachytherapy is a targeted form of internal radiotherapy. Radioactive ‘seeds’ are inserted into the prostate where they kill cancer cells without causing damage to surrounding healthy cells.
- The prostate absorbs the entire radioactivity, so it’s safe to be around other people, though doctors may advise you to avoid long periods of contact with children or pregnant women in the first two months following the procedure.
- Brachytherapy is a less invasive treatment than surgery and patients can often undergo the procedure and then return home the same day. Many return to work within 1week.
- The side effects of brachytherapy are also less than surgery, with fewer patients experiencing erectile dysfunction and loss of bladder control – two common side effects of prostate surgery which can result in long-term and even permanent damage.
- Each seed is the size of a grain of rice, and between 80-120 seeds will be used, depending on the size of the prostate and the tumor location.
- Brachytherapy is a minimally invasive procedure. Performed under general anaesthetic the seeds are inserted into the prostate through the perineum using a needle. The procedure usually takes less than an hour.
- As well as treating prostate cancer LDR brachytherapy can be used in the treatment of other cancers including breast, lung and eye cancer.
To find out more about LDR brachytherapy click here. If you think brachytherapy might be a treatment option please discuss it with your GP, oncologist or surgeon. To find your nearest treatment centre click here.