30-Minute Brachytherapy Just As Effective as Prostate Surgery

Would you try a treatment of brachytherapy for prostate cancer that took only about 30 minutes and was just as effective as surgery? Some men already have at the hands of British surgeons who developed the technique at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford.

The 30-minute treatment for prostate cancer is an advanced form of brachytherapy, a type of radiation therapy that involves implanting either permanent radioactive capsules (seeds) or temporary needles into a cancerous site. Brachytherapy is considered a treatment option for men who have small tumors that are confined to the prostate.

While conventional brachytherapy typically takes about 3 hours to complete, the new form can be completed in as little as 30 minutes and be just as effective as the conventional approach.

According to the surgeons who developed the new brachytherapy, a two-minute scan of the patient’s prostate identifies how many seeds should be implanted and where they should be placed. The surgeons than implant up to 120 seeds in an operation that takes 30 to 40 minutes.

Men who have undergone this new type of brachytherapy have typically been discharged from the hospital the same day and return to work within 48 hours. The investigators report that this form of brachytherapy is just as effective as surgery but is less expensive and has fewer side effects.

For example, while many men need help with erectile dysfunction after conventional brachytherapy, about 83 percent of men maintained erectile function after undergoing the new 30-minute form of brachytherapy. This is a significant advantage over the traditional form of brachytherapy and thus makes this option one worth discussing with your healthcare provider.

Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.

Reference

Macrae F. Operation to treat prostate cancer in only half an hour is revealed. DailyMail 2012 Jun 8