Seed Implants Effectively Treat Prostate Cancer

October 03, 1997

ioactive seed implants are a safe, effective way to treat prostate cancer with few side effects, a Michigan study reports.

The results of the study, conducted at Karmaons Cancer Institute-Crittendon Hospital, Rochester, MI were presented October 22 at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's annual meeting in Orlando, FL.

"Radioactive seed implantation appears to be an effective treatment for early stage prostate cancer with high quality of life and minimal side effects," said Dr. Elayne Arterbery Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and Director of Prostate Brachytherapy at Karmanos Cancer Institute-Crittendon Hospital.

Dr. Arterbery's research focused on the quality of life of men who received prostate implants between September 1995 and October 1996. The results of that survey showed that men can expect to retain normal sexual function after receiving implants. The survey also indicated that many men will spend little time away from work as a result of the procedure. The majority of participants returned to work within five days of receiving implants, according to Dr. Arterbery. Patient tolerance and acceptance is high with this procedure, she said.

The implants are tiny radioactive seeds. Each one is the size of a grain of rice, Dr. Arterbery said. Each grain is placed at precise locations around the prostate gland, and delivers a high dose of radiation to the prostate while minimizing radiation to nearby organs such as the bladder and the rectum, Dr. Arterbery said. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis and it only takes about an hour to complete, she said. There are few side effects.

There are a number of different treatments associated with prostate cancer, including surgery and external beam radiation therapy. Dr. Arterbery said seed implants are as effective as either surgery or external beam radiation therapy in treating this disease.

Over 300,000 men get prostate cancer each year. The risk of getting prostate cancer is highest for men over 50, African-Americans and those with a family history of the disease.

The American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with some 4,000 members. As a leading organization in radiation oncology, biology and physics, the society's goals are to advance the scientific basis of radiation therapy and to extend the benefits of radiation therapy to those with cancer.

American Roentgen Ray Society

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