Q: How effective is LDR prostate brachytherapy for prostate cancer?
A: LDR prostate brachytherapy is highly effective for men with low risk prostate cancer with over 90% cure rate. The treatment is as effective as the other common modalities such as surgery or external beam radiation therapy. For men with more aggressive forms of prostate cancer (high risk and very high risk prostate cancer), the combination of brachytherapy and external beam radiation therapy (along with hormone therapy) provides the highest cure rate compared to surgery or external beam radiation therapy alone.
Q: What are the typical side effects from prostate seed implant?
A: There can be side effects immediately following the procedure but they typically resolve within a month. The side effects are related to irritation of the bladder causing burning, urgency, frequency of urination. There are medicines to help with these symptoms. There are also long term side effects that can occur years after brachytherapy which include rectal bleeding and erectile dysfunction. There is a procedure that can be performed to prevent rectal damage from radiation therapy. In comparison to other treatments for prostate cancer such as surgery or external beam radiation therapy, brachytherapy has been shown to have the best erectile function preservation rates.
Q: Is LDR prostate brachytherapy covered by health insurance?
A: Yes, this procedure is covered by health plans, including Medicare, for men with localized prostate cancer.