Brachytherapy (meaning close-range therapy) is a treatment option for localised prostate cancer that is typically of low or intermediate grade.
It is a form of radiation therapy whereby radioactive seeds, which are designed to kill prostate cancer cells over time, are implanted into the prostate.
Brachytherapy offers an alternative to surgery and traditional external beam radiation, with what appear to be equivalent cancer control rates.
Brachytherapy Treatment for Prostate Cancer
Using CT scanning, an assessment is first made taking into account the prostate’s size and shape as well as where cancer was found on biopsy. This allows modelling of the dosage of radiation to be given throughout the prostate, maximising cell kill of the cancer and minimising injury risk to surrounding normal tissue, such as urethra and rectum.
The procedure is then performed in hospital under general anaesthetic. The radioactive seeds are accurately delivered into the prostate via needles through the perineum (the area of skin between the scrotum and anus) using ultrasound guidance and a fixed template to control needle position. A urethral catheter is placed, which is then typically removed the next day prior to discharge home.
Potential risks include radiation cystitis, causing urgency and frequency, and radiation proctitis, leading to rectal urgency and diarrhoea.
AUA urologists, as well as our visiting radiation oncologists, are highly trained and experienced in performing brachytherapy.