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As a type of radiation treatment that attacks malignant cells from inside the body, brachytherapy can serve as a focused method for dealing with cancer, but the pointed approach brachytherapy demands means that it only works before cancer cells have moved outside the prostate.
Because of this, it's important that individuals at risk for prostate cancer get checked by their doctor regularly so they can address potential cancer risks while they're still localized.
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Brachytherapy involves the implantation of small pellets within the prostate. These pellets are smaller than a grain of rice but irradiated, and their presence in your prostate kills the prostate cancer cells.
The implantation of seeds during brachytherapy is handled through injection by thin needles, and patients are anesthetized beforehand to reduce pain involved with the procedure. After the initial procedure, patients usually undergo between two to four high-dose rate treatments, and these treatments are typically take about 15 minutes
Patients should be aware that brachytherapy does have risks, but these risks are usually temporary and not severe or life-threatening. Side effects caused by brachytherapy include a burning sensation while urinating or difficulty urinating, soreness in the rectal area, and an increased presence of mucous in the patient's stool. Patients may also have trouble telling when they need to pass a bowel movement or urinate. Staying fully hydrated and eating a high fiber diet can help mitigate these problems.
Roughly half of men who undergo brachytherapy experience problems with erectile dysfunction. This may be chronic or temporary, though existing medications and surgical treatments can help alleviate the issue. Patients may also experience more fatigue and tiredness. These effects typically pass within a few months of treatment and can be treated with hydration, healthy eating, and a moderated sleeping schedule. If you're worried about the side effects from brachytherapy, your doctor can help you develop a wellness plan that can help you address potential issues.
In many cases, brachytherapy alone can address the threat of prostate cancer, but it may also be used in conjunction with external beam radiation therapy. The latter is most often used when prostate cancer has reached more advanced stages of development. EBRT therapy can assist with isolating and neutralizing more developed forms of cancer within or around the prostate.
Due to the relative low risk and high incidences of success involved, a large set group of patients qualify for brachytherapy. Brachytherapy as a singular treatment is available to most patients with a low risk prostate cancer diagnosis and some candidates in the intermediate risk group. It may also be a feasible solution for patients who have undergone prior radiation treatment and are identified as dealing with persistent disease. Brachytherapy in conjunction with EBRT is a viable treatment option for all patients and risk groups. This is because these combined treatments have a high level of efficacy within all risk groups.
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