Prostate seed implants

The ETMC Cancer Institute was the first facility in East Texas to offer transrectal, ultrasound-guided prostate brachytherapy. In a one-day procedure, small radioactive seeds are very accurately placed inside the prostate gland to give direct, high doses of radiation to the prostate tumor.

Because the radiation only goes where it is needed, side effects are mild. Patients go home the same day and resume their normal activities within a few days. The ETMC Cancer Institute’s radiation oncologist, teamed with a specially trained group of urologists, carefully evaluates each case and discusses treatment options, with surgery or longer courses of radiation therapy sometimes necessary.

In order to kill cancer, the physicians place radioactive “seeds” into the prostate gland. These radioactive seeds (either Iodine 125 or Palladium 103) give low energy X-rays which destroy the cancer in the prostate but leave the rest of the body alone.

The radioactive seeds are about the size of a grain of rice. Typically, the physician will place about 70 to 150 of the seeds. The exact location depends on the actual size of the prostate gland. Even though the cancer is visible in a portion of the gland, there may be tiny amounts of cancer throughout the prostate. For this reason, the entire gland is treated.