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Half of Patients Have Morbidity After Brachytherapy

Invasive procedure rate for complications declining, suggesting improved technique

FRIDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Although more than half of men who have prostate brachytherapy experience complications, 14 percent requiring invasive procedures, the number of invasive procedures has fallen over time, according to study findings published in the Nov. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The findings suggest that experience with the technique has improved outcome.

Aileen B. Chen, M.D., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues analyzed 1991 to 1999 data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER), including 5,621 men older than 65 years who had prostate brachytherapy who were followed-up for at least two years.

Within two years, 54.5 percent had a complication or invasive procedure and 14.1 percent had invasive procedures. Morbidity rates included urinary (33.8 percent), bowel (21 percent) and erectile (16.7 percent) complications, and invasive procedures were 10.3 percent, 0.8 percent and 4 percent, respectively. Older age and non-white race were associated with more urinary morbidity and invasive procedures; older age with bowel morbidity, and younger age and non-white race were linked to more erectile dysfunction.

"Morbidity after prostate brachytherapy was common, though invasive procedures were required infrequently. Invasive procedures for complications declined during the 1990s, suggesting technical improvement with experience," the authors conclude.

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