What are prostate seed implants for cancer treatment?
Prostate seed implants are tiny radioactive seeds which are implanted directly into the cancerous tissue of the prostate gland in patients suffering from prostate cancer. This procedure is known as Brachytherapy or prostate seed implantation and is one of the most preferred methods for the effective treatment of prostate cancer. The logic behind the treatment is simple as the radioactive seeds give out radioactive rays which destroy the cancer cell from inside the organ. However, like all therapies, prostate seed implanting has its advantages and risks and the patient should be aware of these before deciding to opt for the procedure.
First of all a combination of antibiotics and anesthesia are administered to the patient. The patient lies on his back and the knees are placed in stirrups. Ultrasound is used for guidance in order to permanently implant the 50 or 80 radioactive palladium or iodine implants that are inserted into the tissue with the help of needles. The patient may have to urinate through a strainer to catch any seeds that may be passed along with the urine.
Advantages of Brachytherapy
This procedure is minimally invasive and requires very little time to complete. External beam radiation therapy requires a five days a week for a period of six to nine weeks. On the other hand, prostate seed implants require only outpatient treatment and have a very quick recovery time.
Risks involved with Brachytherapy
There may be irritation in the urinary tract, inflammation, pain, frequent urination, burning, painful urination, urgency to urinate and waking up many times in the night to urinate. There also may be irritation in the rectum, pain, burning, urgency and frequency of bowel movements. People who have high grade cancer are not good candidates for this procedure. At the same time, the radioactivity from the prostate seed implants can affect children or the elderly. There also can be erectile dysfunction and possible pubic hair loss. Even fathering a child may become difficult.
Dr. Echt and his team at the Prostate Seed Institute offer the most highly sophisticated methods of radiation therapy available in the United States, equal to that found in major medical centers and academic settings. These include prostate seed implantation, high dose radiation implants, and external beam radiation with image-guided and intensity-modulated (IGRT and IMRT) capabilities.
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