Radiation therapy is one of the most commonly used treatments for prostate cancer. It offers options that are safe and effective in treating prostate cancer. The goals of radiation therapy include relieving symptoms of prostate cancer including pain, controlling the growth of cancer and curing the prostate cancer. Radiation therapy damages cancer cells to the point that they cannot reproduce. It also affects healthy cells, but they recover from the treatment.
Prostate radiation treatment is administered in two ways, internal radiation, and external radiation.
• Internal radiation: Also known as prostate seed implantation or Brachytherapy. During this procedure, tiny radioactive “seeds” are placed in the prostate cancer tumor site. The seed material begins to disintegrate over time releasing a low dose of radiation, enough to target and kill cancer cells without harming nearby healthy tissue. It may take weeks or months for the material to completely disintegrate until the prostate is free of any radioactive material. The procedure takes about an hour and after that the
patient can go home and resume a normal routine within a few days. Brachytherapy is highly effective for treating prostate cancer.
• High Dose Radiation: Also known as temporary brachytherapy involves placing radioactive seeds in the prostate temporarily. The seeds have more radioactive materials than those used in traditional prostate seed implants. The patient stays in the hospital to be treated with seed placement two or three times at first, then after two weeks, the treatment is repeated. The seeds are implanted one by one by a computer controlled device.
• External Beam Radiation: Is a therapy that involves radiation treatments once every day for seven to eight weeks. Treatments are painless, and every session lasts a few minutes, targeting the prostate gland. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) and 3D conformal radiation therapy are the three methods used in external beam radiation for treatment of prostate cancer at The Prostate Seed Institute.
• Combination of external beam radiation and seed implant therapy is used to treat patients whose prostate cancer is at an advanced stage with a high risk of the disease spreading beyond the prostate.
A significant finding reveals that if prostate cancer recurs, it can be dealt with successfully by a repeat of brachytherapy without men having the risk of death from the disease. Brachytherapy is an adequate upfront treatment, these implants are also being used to treat thyroid cancer with excellent outcomes.