The long-term follow-up results of interstitial HDR brachytherapy in prostate cancer treatment seem very promising. The results were presented at The Winter Days 2017 conference hosted by the Finnish Association of Urology. HDR brachytherapy treatments have already been administered for six years at the Docrates Cancer Center, and the long-term follow-up results of the treatment prove it to be safe and efficient.
Over 500 HDR procedures have been performed at the Docrates Cancer Center, and based on the long-term follow-up, using HDR therapy as the only treatment method is a safe and efficient method for patients who suffer from a low-risk localised prostate cancer. Using HDR brachytherapy as a treatment method in addition to conventional external radiotherapy in high-risk and locally metastatic prostate cancer enables both increasing the radiation dose and minimising the probability of adverse effects. A high dose rate is the most important factor in ensuring the efficiency of prostate cancer treatment.
HDR brachytherapy can be used with all types of prostate cancer. It is an effective means to treat even recurring cases of prostate cancer.
Targeted radiotherapy protects healthy tissue and allows patients to live a fuller life than after surgery
HDR brachytherapy is targeted radiotherapy, where the high dose of radiation can be directed only to the prostate area, with millimetre-accuracy. Fears related to prostate cancer treatment are often about maintaining the quality of life: one may fear the possibility of losing the ability to have an erection, having trouble urinating, and especially the possibility of getting incontinence problems. Studies found that such possible problems with urinating and erections during treatment are significantly reduced 3 to 6 months after the procedures. HDR brachytherapy helps thus preserve sexual function and, regarding bladder functions, especially urinary continence better than surgical treatment.
The effect of male hormones on prostate cancer cells is suppressed during radiotherapy because it is known to increase the efficiency of radiotherapy, especially in more aggressive prostate cancer stages. However, hormonal treatment is only temporary and it is stopped six months to two years after radiotherapy. Most erection problems are alleviated after that, and sexual life can be restored with medication such as Viagra.
Leader of the study, M.D., Specialist in Surgery and Urology, Associate Professor Martti Ala-Opas:
‘HDR brachytherapy has established itself as a prostate cancer treatment method and the results of long-term follow-up are convincing.’