Prostate Seed: New Options To Help Maintain Your Life

Prostate brachytherapy has been used in the United States for over a decade and is currently the most emergent treatment for prostate cancer. The procedure by which radioactive seeds, iodine (I-125) or palladium (Pd-103), are implanted in the prostate is minor. Postoperative patients usually are able to return to their daily livelihood within a few days.

Much like three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT), a treatment often done in combination with prostate seed implants, the objective of this procedure is to target harmful cells and preserve healthy tissue. The radiotherapy from the seeds destroys cancer cells by means of DNA damage. When sufficient DNA damage has transpired, the cancer cells will die due to their inability to continue growing. Those cells not initially killed, divide in an effort to create two more viable cancer cells, which are usually later destroyed by the radiation. Healthy tissues are typically restored after DNA damage.  

Even though the seed implants in the prostate are radioactive, they are extremely low energy. The slight quantities of radiation released from the prostate, generally are not deemed a health threat to others. Nonetheless, it is recommended that the patient, for the first two months of treatment, limit contact with children and pregnant women. An I-125 seed has a half-life of sixty days and continues to emit radioactive energy for up to 12 months following.  In contrast, a Pd-103 seed has a half-life of only seventeen days and is inactive after three months. There is no need to extract the exhausted seeds, as they are not harmful to the body.  

Currently, not all prostate cancer patients are eligible for this treatment, however, it is estimated that within the next few years, over fifty percent of all males with this type of cancer will undergo the seed implant procedure.
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