HDR Brachytherapy for Prostate Cancer
Brachytherapy is considered among the most effective treatments for prostate cancer. High dose brachytherapy prostate cancer treatment, which makes use of high intensity radiation, has shown excellent results in many patients. The advantage of this treatment is that it can be used for practically any stage of localized prostate cancer. The treatment may be used in isolation or in combination with external beam radiation treatment.
High Dose Brachytherapy for Prostate Cancer
High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy is a unique process to deliver internal radiation. It makes use of a single, high intensity radiation source which is delivered directly to the tumor with the help of catheters or needles. The first step of the treatment is to place the needles within the tumor by using digital imaging and computer software. The needles are maintained in their position usually until all therapy sessions are concluded.
The direct delivery of radiation ensures a high dosage, while at the same time protecting the peripheral areas, particularly the bladder from unintended exposure. The success of the treatment lies in the precise placement of catheters, and determining the position of the radioactive pellets in each laser-thin catheter. The entire procedure can be completed within 15 to 20 minutes. Multiple treatments are provided usually before the needles are removed from the affected area. There is no involvement of surgery, which makes the procedure very efficient.
Benefits of HDR Brachytherapy
The key benefit of HDR Brachytherapy is that with the help of technology it manages to focus high intensity radiation directly on the tumor, with minimal or no exposure to the other sensitive areas such as the bladder. This ensures there are no major side effects of the treatment, and the general organ structure and function are preserved. In this method, the operating surgeon has prior knowledge of the precise dose of radiation before the treatment is administered.
Another advantage of the procedure is that it tends to achieve optimal uniformity of the radiation dosage. There are negligible hot and cold spots in the affected area with this method. Unlike external beam radiation, this procedure does not get disturbed by organ motion or movement of the target. The procedure is also effective in cases where the cancer has recurred. Radiation safety under this procedure is of an optimal level.
Risk Considerations with HDR Brachytherapy
It is critical that the procedure must be performed by experienced specialists only because of the high precision required in this technique and involvement of a high dosage of radiation. Secondly, the equipment must be state of the art to ensure there is no scope for errors and millimeter precision during the direct delivery of radiation is ensured. Furthermore, the patient must understand that the procedure is potentially curative, but there are chances of the tumor recurring after a period of time. Bladder and chronic bowel symptoms following the treatment should be managed properly.