Radiation Seed Therapy Fights Prostate Cancer

Minimally invasive technique boosts survival, study finds

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MONDAY, Feb. 5, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Prostate cancer patients who receive radiation seed implants, called brachytherapy, have high survival rates, a U.S. study finds.

The seeds, about the size of a grain of rice, are designed to deliver concentrated radiation to the prostate, while sparing surrounding organs and tissues. This approach has become a widely accepted treatment for early-stage prostate cancer, because it's effective, minimally invasive, and is less likely than other treatments to cause side effects such as impotence and incontinence.

The study of nearly 2,700 early-stage prostate cancer patients treated at 11 centers found that more than 90 percent of patients who received appropriate dose levels with permanent radiation seed implants were cured of their cancer eight years after diagnosis.

The patients did not receive any other form of cancer treatment.

"This study is exciting because it shows that brachytherapy alone, without additional surgery, radiation or drugs, can be effective at curing early-stage prostate cancer," study lead author Dr. Michael J. Zelefsky, chief of brachytherapy services at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, said in a prepared statement.

"These results also confirm other findings that the quality of the seed implant is a critical ingredient for achieving a better outcome," he said.

The findings are published in the Feb. 1 issue of the International Journal for Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians explains prostate cancer treatments.

SOURCE: American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, news release, Jan. 31, 2007

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