BrachyTherapy for Prostate Cancer
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Prostate Cancer Facts
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer, (excluding skin cancer), and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men in the United States
Many prostate cancers are slow growing and have a fairly benign course, however, some may be very aggressive.
About 200,000 cases per year are diagnosed in the United States
Almost one third of all cancers diagnosed in men are of prostate origin
Approximately 11% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their life
Screening for Prostate Cancer
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test
A very useful screening test to diagnose prostate cancer in earlier stages
Patients should discuss annual PSA screening with their physician after age 50, or earlier if they have a family history of prostate cancer
Biopsies are performed when a PSA test or a medical examination suggest a higher risk of prostate cancer.
What is Brachytherapy?
“Brachytherapy” comes from a Greek root meaning “from a short distance.” It is the practice of treating cancer by placing a tiny radioactive source directly into the cancer tissue. In essence, brachytherapy radiates the tumor from the inside out, killing off the bad tissue while preserving as much surrounding healthy tissue as possible.
With prostate brachytherapy, multiple catheters are placed within the prostate during a brief surgery. Then a scan is performed, measurements taken and a treatment plan is formulated to meet each patients exact needs.
During the treatment, a single radioactive source moves sequentially in and out of each catheter treating the area from the inside out.
After the treatment is complete, the catheters are removed and the patient usually goes home the same day. One of the best benefits to brachytherapy is a minimal recovery time. The patient is able to be out doing the things he loves to do.
At Gamma West Cancer Services, we perform over 500 of these implants per year making us one of the biggest brachytherapy clinics in the United States.
Gamma West is world renowned for its success in treating prostate, breast and other cancers using brachytherapy. This is a highly specialized field where experience is critical. At Gamma West, physicians have successfully performed thousands of these procedures.
What to Expect
A Gamma West Radiation Oncologist performs a comprehensive consultation in relation to the patient’s specific cancer diagnosis. On the day of the procedure, catheters are placed and two treatments are given – the first following the catheter placement and the second approximately 5 hours later on the same day. After the second treatment the catheters are removed and the patient is discharged from the clinic. Patients treated with brachytherapy alone will return for two more implant procedures separated by two week intervals. Higher risk patients are treated with external beam radiation for 5 weeks followed by two outpatient brachytherapy implants scheduled two weeks apart.