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Brachytherapy for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer can be treated with internal radiation. This is called brachytherapy.

Brachytherapy for prostate cancer

Brachytherapy for prostate cancer involves placing radioactive seeds in the prostate. Brachy means nearby; the radioactive seeds are close to the source so they can deliver radiation directly to the prostate, which will protect the healthy tissue and greatly minimizes the side effects.

This treatment uses Iodine-125, which is a radioactive substance with a half-life of 60 days. This means that the radioactive value will be halved after 60 days. The seeds will remain in the prostate. Radiation delivery is nearly entirely restricted to the prostate. You will be under general anesthesia during the surgical placement of the seeds.

Intake with your radiation therapist or physician assistant

You will meet with your radiation therapist or physician assistant to learn more about your treatment. Whether you qualify for brachytherapy will depend on the size, aggression, growth, or development of the tumor. Brachytherapy is no longer an option if the tumor has grown outside of the prostate, or if it has spread through the body.

More information

Preparing for your surgery

After meeting your radiation therapist or physician assistant, you will receive guidelines to prepare for your surgery. During an informative consultation, one of our physicians working in brachytherapy can tell you more about your treatment and answer all your questions. We will also take an MRI scan and an ultrasound of your bladder so we can see how much urine remains in the bladder after urination. Both examinations can tell us whether you qualify for brachytherapy.

You will also meet with your anesthesiologist. This surgery requires general anesthesia. Your anesthesiologist will determine whether it is an option for you. He or she will also be responsible for your anesthesia during the surgery.


You will be admitted to the hospital for one day. Our Admissions department will let you know when you are scheduled to be admitted and when you will need to be at the hospital.
The procedure starts once you are under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will place the seeds into the prostate through the skin between the anus and the scrotum by using needles. The entire procedure will take about two hours.
Once the procedure is completed, you will be taken back to the ward. Once you are able to urinate properly, you can go home.

Side effects and complications

You may experience several side effects such as problems urinating, erectile dysfunction, or bowel upset. Most of these side effects will develop a few weeks after the procedure and are usually temporary.

The limited amount of radioactivity you will carry with you is not harmful to you or your loved ones. As a safety measure, we will give you advice and guidelines for the months following the treatment.

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