Brachytherapy: The Ultimate in Targeting

One of every three men diagnosed with cancer in the United States each year learns he has prostate cancer. It is the second most common type of cancer among U.S. men. Only skin cancer is diagnosed more often.

A common method of radiation therapy for prostate cancer involves brachytherapy, or seed implants. The word "brachytherapy" means "short therapy," indicating the radiation travels a short distance in the body and can better target the tumor, protecting nearby tissues and organs.

Brachytherapy implants are tiny radioactive seeds about the size of a grain of rice that are permanently implanted into the prostate gland. The seeds gradually lose their radioactivity over time and do not need to be removed.

Brachytherapy Expertise at Memorial

Memorial's Regional Cancer Center began offering Brachytherapy seed implants in May 1999, and we have provided this treatment to over 1500 patients. Our radiation oncologists tailor each brachytherapy implant to the individual patient.

Memorial's prostate brachytherapy program was highlighted at the 94th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, held in Chicago in Dec. 2008:

  • Presentation Topic: "Image-guided I125 Prostate Brachytherapy with Fluoroscopic Assist: Keeping the K.I.S. (Keep It Simple) in Prostate Brachytherapy."
  • Presented by Drs. Thom Shanahan*, P.J. Nanavati, David Roszhart, David Lieber and Radiation Therapy staff member Paul Mueller, RT(T)
  • The results for 449 patients having prostate implants over a six-year period showed the combination of using a Hybrid Interactive Mick Applicator (prostate seed implant equipment) and real time image guidance resulted in excellent patient outcomes without excessive use of treatment planning and operating room time.

To make an appointment or to have your doctor refer you to a radiation oncologist, please call the Regional Cancer Center at 217-788-3260.

*The late Thomas Shanahan, MD, was instrumental in developing Memorial's brachytherapy program. Memorial gratefully remembers Thomas G. Shanahan, MD.