Prostate Seed Implants - Brachytherapy
Brachytherapy is radiation therapy which places the radioactive material in close contact with a tumor. Seed implants are a form of low-dose rate brachytherapy used to treat prostate cancer. The other common form of brachytherapy is high dose rate, or "HDR". The goal of brachytherapy is to kill cancer cells with radiation while preserving healthy tissue. Doctors use the tiny radioactive seeds to target the tumor while controlling the area exposed to radiation.
Seeds can be left in place permanently, in which case they give off radiation for weeks or months, and are not removed once the radiation is gone.
Using brachytherapy, a radiation oncologist is able to target cancerous areas of the prostate with higher doses of radiation. Typically the entire gland is treated because cancer is likely to be found in more than one area of the prostate gland.
Images of the prostate are taken and transferred to the treatment planning computer. The computer evaluates the exact position of the prostate and generates a three-dimensional plan that dictates the precise placement of the seeds to provide exactly the amount of radiation needed to cover 100% of the prostate gland while minimizing the exposure of healthy tissue such those in the urinary tract and rectum.
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Information from www.cancer.gov