What is Brachytherapy?

Brachytherapy is recognised as an alternative to both radical surgery and standard external beam radiotherapy.

Prostate Brachytherapy is a form of radiation treatment that is used for localised prostate cancer. The term Brachy is derived from the Greek word meaning "near." During a Brachytherapy treatment, radioactive seed sources are placed directly inside the prostate gland. The radiation dose is delivered very near the cancer, greatly limiting the amount of radiation that is absorbed by other parts of the body. This allows for a higher dose of radiation to be given than is possible with external beam radiotherapy.

Brachytherapy is a short procedure, usually requiring only one night’s stay in hospital. Patients are usually able to resume their normal daily activities very quickly after having this treatment.

Who can receive the treatment?

If your cancer is localised to your prostate gland, and can be treated with surgery, you are likely to be eligible for Brachytherapy.

Brachytherapy works well for prostate cancer when the cancer is small and fully contained within the prostate gland.

If you are over the age of 70, your doctor may recommend that you be treated using either external beam radiotherapy or active monitoring, instead of surgery. If your doctor feels that you should not have surgery because of your age, you may still be eligible for Brachytherapy treatments. Brachytherapy is suitable for patients of all ages and is usually recommended for individuals who have a life expectancy of 10 years or more.

Your cancer specialist may decide that you are not eligible for Brachytherapy if you have a very large prostate gland and/or severe urinary symptoms. However, these can be safely managed with medications so that you can still receive Brachytherapy.

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