Brachytherapy is a therapy primarily intended for the treatment of less aggressive tumours. It is internal radiation and a less harmful alternative. In this therapy, the rays are effective at a short distance from within the body. The big advantage is the prostate can be treated fairly accurately. This also results in the least possible harm to healthy tissue. The doctors have more than 10 years' experience with brachytherapy.
How does it work?
The brachytherapy can be applied in two ways:
Permanent internal radiation
In the area between the scrotum and the anus a needle is used to place radioactive seeds in the prostate gland. This treatment is performed under anaesthesia. This treatment takes approximately a year to complete. The seeds are not removed after treatment, but are permanently left in the prostate. This form of brachytherapy is particularly suitable for treatment of small tumours that are not yet fully developed.
Short-term internal radiation
In the area between the scrotum and the anus a number of catheters (thin tubes) are inserted in the prostate for radiation fluid to pass through. This treatment is performed under anaesthesia. The fluid and catheters are removed after treatment to ensure no foreign and radioactive material remains in the body. The entire procedure consists of two to three treatments, which are carried out in a clinic specialising in radiation therapy. This form of brachytherapy is suitable for more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
As a result of the treatment you can still suffer from temporary irritation of the urethra and swelling of the prostate. This could lead to difficulty in urinating and the bladder not emptying completely.
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