Treating Early Stage Prostate Cancer
Brachytherapy, also known as internal radiation therapy is a treatment option for early-stage prostate cancer. In this treatment, radioactive seeds are placed in or near the tumor itself. These emit either a high radiation dose or low radiation dose to the tumor while reducing the radiation exposure in the surrounding healthy tissues. This leaves the rest of the body unharmed by the radiation treatment.
Prostate Cancer can be treated with two different types of brachytherapy, High-Dose-Rate and Low-Dose-Rate. High-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy uses radioactive material placed into the prostate for a very brief period of time, usually only a few seconds to a minute, before being removed. The high doses of radiation are delivered this way several times.
Low-Dose-Rate Brachytherapy uses a much lower dose of radiation. During this treatment, the radioactive material is left inside of the body permanently and emits low doses of radiation constantly.
Side effects and risks of brachytherapy treatment vary. The side effects may only last during the treatment period, while other side effects are chronic. Side effects include an irritated rectum causing an urgent need to pass stool, an inflamed bladder and urination problems, inflamed intestine and diarrhea, impotence, incontinence, pain during urination, and bleeding from the rectum or blood in the urine.
Prostate cancer is a stressful diagnosis, but fortunately advanced treatment options such as brachytherapy make it relatively treatable. Your doctor at Somerset Urological Associates will help you decide on the best treatment option, and guide you every step of the way toward recovery. Make an appointment today by calling 908-927-0300.