• Brachytherapy alone is generally used only in men with early-stage prostate cancer that is relatively slow growing (low-grade).

  • Brachytherapy combined with external radiation is sometimes an option for men who have a higher risk of the cancer growing outside the prostate.

 

The use of brachytherapy is also limited by some other factors. For men who have had a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) or for those who already have urinary problems, the risk of urinary side effects may be higher. Brachytherapy might not work as well in men with large prostate glands because it might not be possible to place the seeds into all of the correct locations. One way to get around this may be to get a few months of hormone therapy beforehand to shrink the prostate.

Imaging tests such as transrectal ultrasound, CT scans, or MRI are used to help guide the placement of the radioactive pellets. Special computer programs calculate the exact dose of radiation needed.

 

There are 2 types of prostate brachytherapy. Both are done in an operating room. You will get either spinal anesthesia (where the lower half of your body is numbed) or general anesthesia (where you are asleep), and you might need to stay in the hospital overnight.

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Brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy)

Brachytherapy (also called seed implantation or interstitial radiation therapy) uses small radioactive pellets, or “seeds,” each about the size of a grain of rice. These pellets are placed directly into your prostate.