Brachytherapy, also referred to as “seeding,” is one of the most commonly prescribed treatments to fight localized prostate cancer. This minimally invasive outpatient procedure lasts approximately 45 minutes, during which a radiation oncologist implants low-energy radioactive, rice-sized pellets into the prostate gland. Often patients receive anesthesia referred to as “conscious sedation” and typically feel nothing below the waistline. Using ultrasound equipment to see inside the body, the physician inserts thin, hollow needles into the prostate gland and typically deposits up to 120 tiny seeds. The procedure is primarily performed in an outpatient setting and most patients are discharged within hours.
During the next few months, the radioactive ingredients – TheraSeed®’s palladium-103 (Pd-103) or iodine-125 (I-125) used in AgX100®, fight cancer by delivering a highly focused, confined dose of radiation targeted directly to the tumor and surrounding cells. This approach places radiation in a location where it is most effective and minimizes exposure to healthy tissue and organs. The seeds remain in place permanently and are compatible with the body’s tissue.
Patients receiving brachytherapy treatment may experience the following side effects:
- The most commonly reported side effects are short-term urinary or obstructive symptoms within the first few weeks after the implant procedure.
- Tenderness and bruising around the perineal area may occur as a result of the procedure.
- Short-term side effects include frequent urination and burning.
- Rectal irritation and bleeding may occur.
Prostate Cancer Treatment is No Game of Chance
Your physician plays a crucial role in diagnosing your prostate cancer and working with you to make an unbiased, informed decision about your treatment. If your cancer is contained in the prostate gland, you may be a candidate for brachytherapy treatment using TheraSeed® or AgX100® devices. Brachytherapy is performed by radiation oncologists, who are trained in the care, handling and treatment of conditions using radiation. Urologists, who often perform PSA tests and biopsies, are trained as surgeons. If your physician does not have the specialized training to perform brachytherapy, you may have to seek a second opinion.
We encourage you to take these steps to ensure you have the information you need to make an informed decision about your prostate cancer treatment.
- Talk frankly and honestly with your physician. Prepare a list of questions (you can download and print a recommended list in the resources section of this website) and take it to your appointment.
- Obtain a second opinion or seek out specialists. Select an experienced physician who specializes in radiation oncology and understands brachytherapy and has experience performing the procedure. Your physician’s expertise and technique does impact the quality of the implant, your recovery and a successful outcome.
- Discuss treatment options with your loved ones.
- Take charge of your treatment decision.