How Long Does The Implant Stay In The Body
The implants may be temporary or permanent. If the implants will be removed but then put in again later, the catheter is often left in until the treatment is finished. The catheter is then removed when the implants are taken out for the last time. The way you will receive brachytherapy depends on a number of factors, including where the tumor is, the stage of the cancer, and your overall health.
Access The Right Treatments At The Right Time
When it comes to treating prostate cancer, it is important to have access to the best expertise possible so you can receive the right treatments at the right time. The University of Maryland Cancer Network gives you the opportunity to connect with the best treatment options available.
Led by the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center , the UM Cancer Network provides you access to nationally renowned experts, the latest treatments, and promising clinical trials close to home. When you work with a UM Cancer Network cancer center, your community hospital will work in partnership with UMGCCC to help you beat cancer.
Find out more about prostate cancer treatments.
Find an UMMS cancer center near you.
Brachytherapy For Prostate Cancer
External radiation or radioactive seed implants are two treatment options that appear to have similar results when used in early-stage patients. Radiation also produces side effects, including impotence, in about half of patients. It can be applied through an external beam that directs the dose to the prostate from outside the body. The FDA also has approved low-dose radioactive “seeds,” each about the size of a grain of rice, that are implanted within the prostate to kill cancer cells locally. Called brachytherapy, the seeding technique is sometimes combined with external-beam radiation for a “one-two punch.”
The Prostate Implant Program is a multidisciplinary program that includes urology, radiation oncology, radiation safety and radiology. The program offers patients an alternative treatment for early-stage prostate cancer in which radioactive seeds are placed directly into the prostate gland. Current research projects include intraoperative MRI image fusion, real-time intraoperative dosimetry using fluoroscopic and ultrasound imaging, virtual reality guided implants and CT ultrasound implants.
In the 1970s, the use of permanently placed radioactive iodine implants produced initial results as good as other available radiotherapy techniques and posed a small risk of impotence and other side effects when compared with conventional external-beam radio-therapy and radical prostatectomy.
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A Biopsy Is Done To Diagnose Prostate Cancer And Find Out The Grade Of The Cancer
A transrectal biopsy is used to diagnose prostate cancer. A transrectal biopsy is the removal of tissue from the prostate by inserting a thin needle through the rectum and into the prostate. This procedure may be done using transrectal ultrasound or transrectal MRI to help guide where samples of tissue are taken from. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells.
Sometimes a biopsy is done using a sample of tissue that was removed during a transurethral resection of the prostate to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia.
If cancer is found, the pathologist will give the cancer a grade. The grade of the cancer describes how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread. The grade of the cancer is called the Gleason score.
To give the cancer a grade, the pathologist checks the prostate tissue samples to see how much the tumor tissue is like the normal prostate tissue and to find the two main cell patterns. The primary pattern describes the most common tissue pattern, and the secondary pattern describes the next most common pattern. Each pattern is given a grade from 3 to 5, with grade 3 looking the most like normal prostate tissue and grade 5 looking the most abnormal. The two grades are then added to get a Gleason score.
What Other Details About The Radioactive Seed Implant Procedure Are Important
Close, prolonged contact with young children should be limited to 20 minutes per hour for the first two months after the procedure. Its safe to sleep in the same bed if your partner/spouse is NOT pregnant. If your partner/spouse is pregnant, separate sleeping arrangements will be necessary for two months. If you have other questions, please call your radiation oncologist or urologist.
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Physical Emotional And Social Effects Of Cancer
Cancer and its treatment cause physical symptoms and side effects, as well as emotional, social, and financial effects. Managing all of these effects is called palliative care or supportive care. It is an important part of your care that is included along with treatments intended to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer.
Palliative care focuses on improving how you feel during treatment by managing symptoms and supporting patients and their families with other, non-medical needs. Any person, regardless of age or type and stage of cancer, may receive this type of care. And it often works best when it is started right after a cancer diagnosis. People who receive palliative care along with treatment for the cancer often have less severe symptoms, better quality of life, and report that they are more satisfied with treatment.
Palliative treatments vary widely and often include medication, nutritional changes, relaxation techniques, emotional and spiritual support, and other therapies. You may also receive palliative treatments similar to those meant to get rid of the cancer, such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy.
Do We Know Which Treatment Is Best For Prostate Cancer Brachytherapy Or External Beam Radiation
Its not a question of which type of radiation therapy is best in general, but rather which therapy is best for the patients specific disease and quality-of-life concerns. We want to use the most tailored, pinpointed radiation to treat the prostate tumor effectively while minimizing side effects. This can depend on the tumors size and stage as well as other patient characteristics and even a patients individual preferences.
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What Side Effects May Occur As A Result Of Brachytherapy
Side effects of brachytherapy can include swelling, bruising, bleeding, or pain and discomfort at the spot where the radiation was delivered. Brachytherapy used for gynecologic cancers or prostate cancer can lead to short-term urinary symptoms, including incontinence or pain on urination. Brachytherapy for these cancers can also lead to diarrhea, constipation and some rectal bleeding. Prostate brachytherapy can occasionally cause erectile dysfunction.
The Process For Implanting Prostate Seeds
- Step 1: The first step in the process is an outpatient consultation with a Princeton Radiation Oncology radiation oncologist. Your radiation oncologist will advise on the implant option based on your PSA, Gleason score, tumor stage, and other factors.
- Step 2: The second step is a planning transrectal ultrasound . We place a transducer in the rectum and obtain images of the prostate gland in 5mm segments. Once the prostate is visualized, your Princeton Radiation Oncology radiation oncologist works with the radiation physicists to determine precisely where the seeds should be placed. Using a treatment-planning computer, we generate a series of dose maps called isodose curves. Our goal is to deliver a radiation dose of 150-160 Gy to the prostate with Iodine and approximately 120 Gy with palladium seeds . We peripherally load the seeds to minimize the radiation dose to the centrally located urethra. This will minimize the risk of urinary side effects.
- Step 3: The third step is the implant procedure, which our doctors perform in the operating room while youre under either general or spinal anesthesia. Under transrectal ultrasound guidance, the prostate is implanted through the perineum with needles loaded with radioactive seeds. Fluoroscopy confirms the seed placement into the prostate. After the procedure, well monitor you for several hours. Typically, we discharge patients to home on the same day.
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Prostate Seed Implantation At Princeton Radiation Oncology Treats Prostate Cancer Effectively
Prostate seed implantation is a minimally invasive procedure for treating prostate cancer in which radioactive seeds are placed in the prostate gland to target cancer cells while maximizing the preservation of healthy tissue. This outpatient procedure requires general anesthesia and takes only a few hours. Most patients return to normal activities within two to three days.
At Princeton Radiation Oncology, our doctors are experts in treating prostate cancer patients using prostate seed implantation, having pioneered its use more than two decades ago.
Remission And The Chance Of Recurrence
A remission is when cancer cannot be detected in the body and there are no symptoms. This may also be called having no evidence of disease or NED.
A remission can be temporary or permanent. This uncertainty causes many people to worry that the cancer will come back. Although there are treatments to help prevent a recurrence, such as hormonal therapy and radiation therapy, it is important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of the cancer returning. There are tools your doctor can use, called nomograms, to estimate someone’s risk of recurrence. Understanding your risk of recurrence and the treatment options may help you feel more prepared if the cancer does return. Learn more about coping with the fear of recurrence.
In general, following surgery or radiation therapy, the PSA level in the blood usually drops. If the PSA level starts to rise again, it may be a sign that the cancer has come back. If the cancer returns after the original treatment, it is called recurrent cancer.
When this occurs, a new cycle of testing will begin again to learn as much as possible about the recurrence, including where the recurrence is located. The cancer may come back in the prostate , in the tissues or lymph nodes near the prostate , or in another part of the body, such as the bones, lungs, or liver . Sometimes the doctor cannot find a tumor even though the PSA level has increased. This is known as a PSA recurrence or biochemical recurrence.
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What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages
What may be important to one man might be less important to someone else. Your doctor, nurse or radiographer can help you choose the right treatment for you. Theres usually no rush to make a decision, so give yourself time to think about things.
- Recovery is quick, so most men can return to their normal activities one or two days after treatment.
- It delivers radiation directly into the prostate, so there may be less damage to surrounding healthy tissue, and a lower risk of some side effects.
- You will only be in hospital for one or two days.
- If your cancer comes back, you may be able to have further treatment.
- It can cause side effects such as urinary and erection problems.
- You will usually need a general or spinal anaesthetic, which can have side effects.
- It may be some time before you know whether the treatment has been successful.
- You will need to avoid sitting close to pregnant women or children during the first two months after treatment.
Are There Side Effects Of The Combination Approach To Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy
When it comes to early stages of disease, patients very frequently do well with either brachytherapy or external beam radiation. Success rates of around 90% or higher can be achieved with either approach. When the disease is somewhat more advanced based on the PSA level, Gleason score, extent of visible disease on magnetic resonance imaging we have learned over the years that higher doses of radiation are critical to achieving better results. Some evidence, including a large trial, suggests that for patients with intermediate- or high-risk prostate cancer, a combined approach using brachytherapy along with external beam radiation may be best compared to standard dose external beam radiation therapy alone.
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Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy
This technique uses advanced image guided techniques to deliver large doses of radiation to a precise area, such as the prostate. Because there are large doses of radiation in each dose, the entire course of treatment is given over just a few days.
SBRT is often known by the names of the machines that deliver the radiation, such as Gamma Knife, X-Knife, CyberKnife, and Clinac.
The main advantage of SBRT over IMRT is that the treatment takes less time . The side effects, though, are not better. In fact, some research has shown that some side effects might actually be worse with SBRT than with IMRT.
Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy
Compared to earlier radiation methods, these modern techniques reduce the chance of urinary and bowel problems.
With several treatment options available, your doctor will work with you to develop and oversee a treatment plan that precisely addresses your prostate cancer while minimizing the risk to surrounding tissues.
This is why it is important to choose an experienced radiation oncologist who specializes in the management of prostate cancer. High volume centers where practitioners have significant experience and treat large numbers of patients with prostate cancer may be associated with good outcomes and fewer lasting problems related to treatment. The majority of patients who undergo radiation do not have permanent effects on bowel or urinary function, and patients who develop erectile difficulty after these therapies can often be treated successfully with medications such as sildenafil or tadalafil.
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Does Msk Offer Proton Therapy For Prostate Cancer
Some men with prostate cancer may choose to receive another form of external-beam radiation therapy called proton therapy. Proton therapy can deliver a high radiation dose to the prostate while lowering the radiation dose to normal surrounding tissue. It is unclear if there is any advantage to proton therapy compared with IMRT. We are now studying how these approaches compare in terms of side effects and outcomes at the New York Proton Center. These efforts are being led by radiation oncologist Daniel Gorovets.
If Treatment Does Not Work
Recovery from cancer is not always possible. If the cancer cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may be called advanced or terminal.
This diagnosis is stressful, and for some people, advanced cancer may be difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team has special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families and is there to help. Making sure a person is physically comfortable, free from pain, and emotionally supported is extremely important.
People who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than 6 months may want to consider hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to talk with the health care team about hospice care options, which include hospice care at home, a special hospice center, or other health care locations. Nursing care and special equipment, including a hospital bed, can make staying at home a workable option for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.
After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.
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Radiation Therapy For Prostate Cancer
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to kill cancer cells. Depending on the stage of the prostate cancer and other factors, radiation therapy might be used:
- As the first treatment for cancer that is still just in the prostate gland and is low grade. Cure rates for men with these types of cancers are about the same as those for men treated with radical prostatectomy.
- As part of the first treatment for cancers that have grown outside the prostate gland and into nearby tissues.
- If the cancer is not removed completely or comes back in the area of the prostate after surgery.
- If the cancer is advanced, to help keep the cancer under control for as long as possible and to help prevent or relieve symptoms.
How Does Brachytherapy Compare With Other Forms Of Radiation Treatments
When used appropriately, brachytherapy has been shown to be as effective as conventional external beam radiation therapy and surgery for many cancers. It is best used in patients whose cancer has not spread, or metastasized. In many cases, brachytherapy is combined with external-beam radiation therapy, including stereotactic body radiation therapy, to get the best results.
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Who Can Have Permanent Seed Brachytherapy
On its own
Permanent seed brachytherapy on its own may be suitable for men with CPG 1 localised prostate cancer. This is because the radiation from the radioactive seeds doesnt travel very far, so will only treat cancer that is still inside the prostate.
It may also be suitable for some men whose cancer have a CPG 2 or CPG 3 of spreading.
With other treatments
If you have CPG 4 or CPG 5 localised prostate cancer, you may have brachytherapy together with external beam radiotherapy and hormone therapy. This is sometimes called a brachytherapy boost. Having these other treatments at the same time as permanent seed brachytherapy can help make the treatment more effective. But it can also increase the risk of side effects.
Some men with intermediate risk localised prostate cancer or locally advanced prostate cancer may be offered a brachytherapy boost.
When is permanent seed brachytherapy not suitable?
Permanent seed brachytherapy wont be suitable if your cancer has spread to other parts of your body .
It may not be suitable if you have a very large prostate. If you do have a large prostate you may be able to have hormone therapy before treatment to shrink your prostate.
Not all hospitals offer permanent seed brachytherapy. If your hospital doesnt do it, your doctor may refer you to one that does.