Picking Best Candidates for Brachytherapy

Study assesses which prostate cancer patients might suffer side effects from internal radiation

THURSDAY, March 18, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Specific physical conditions in a patient, such as urinary pain or low urinary flow, may help doctors assess a patient's vulnerability to complications of internal radiation treatment for prostate cancer, says a study in the current issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The study included 105 men at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. Of those men, 59 were categorized as being at high risk for urinary tract difficulties after radiation therapy and 46 were categorized as low-risk.

After therapy, 37 percent of the high-risk men and 15 percent of the low-risk men developed some urinary difficulties.

"The results offer physicians some simple and inexpensive pre-treatment testing that helps identify patients who would be at increased risk for developing urinary complications," study author Dr. Michael Wehle says in a prepared statement.

The study was conducted to better define which men with prostate cancer are and aren't good candidates for brachytherapy. This treatment involves placing radioactive seeds in or near the tumor. This delivers a high dose of radiation to the tumor and reduces radiation exposure in surrounding healthy tissues.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about prostate cancer.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, March 2004
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