LDR brachytherapy: the treatment pathway
Following a diagnosis of prostate cancer, patients should talk to their specialist to discuss the treatment options available to them. This will depend on the extent of the cancer and the general physical health of the individual.
For localized prostate cancer patients may be given the option of LDR brachytherapy treatment, a non-invasive, targeted treatment for prostate cancer where tiny, radioactive seeds are implanted directly into the prostate to specifically target the cancer cells. Historically the treatment takes place over two stages.
Stage 1: Planning stage
The patient visits a brachytherapy specialist who will take ultrasound scans of the prostate. A three dimensional model of the prostate is created by the brachytherapy computer and this is then used to create a dose plan, tailored for the individual patient and determining the number and position of seeds required. This is carried out under anesthetic.
Following this an appointment will be scheduled for the brachytherapy treatment, and the required number of seeds ordered, so they are ready for the patient on the day of the procedure.
Stage 2: Implantation of seeds
During the brachytherapy treatment seeds are implanted using a fine needle inserted into the prostate. The procedure is carried out under general anesthetic. The implantation takes roughly an hour and there will then be 1-2 hours in the recovery room allowing for the anesthetic to wear off. Patients can then be discharged the same day or the following morning. A CT scan will be taken sometime after the implantation to check the position of the seeds.
Patients will be requested to attend an outpatient appointment 2-4 weeks later, followed by a PSA check after 3-4 months.
New one stage patient pathway