Brachytherapy for prostate cancer

At UK, we use cutting-edge interstitial seed implants to treat low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancers, as well as high-risk prostate cancers in combination with intensity-modulated radiation therapy. Our radiation oncologists are highly skilled and experienced in this radiation therapy technique.

What should patients expect?

Patients first meet with their doctor for a treatment planning session, during which we use imaging technology, such as CT and MRI, to map the prostate anatomy, including the urethra. Unlike other radiation treatments, interstitial brachytherapy requires only one treatment session, during which:

  • Patients are given an anesthetic.
  • Physicians use ultrasound to guide the placement of the seeds, which are smaller than a grain of rice (five mm), in the prostate, while protecting the nearby urethra and rectum.
  • Physicists measure the radiation levels in the prostate and the rest of the body to ensure the proper areas are being treated and healthy tissue is spared.

After waking up from the procedure, patients are able to return home the same day as treatment. They then return four to five weeks later for a CAT scan to check on the seed placement and then every three months after that for evaluation, including prostate-specific antigen (PSA) measurement.

What are the side effects?

The side effects from brachytherapy for prostate cancers are typically temporary and decrease as the body becomes used to the seed implants. They include urinary symptoms such as:

  • Bladder and urethra pressure.
  • The feeling of needing to urinate frequently.
  • Decreased urinary flow.