What is it?
Permanent seed brachytherapy, also known as low dose-rate brachytherapy, is a type of radiotherapy where tiny radioactive seeds are put into your prostate. Each radioactive seed is the size and shape of a grain of rice. The seeds stay in the prostate and give a steady dose of radiation over a few months.
Radiation from the seeds destroys cancer cells in the prostate. You may be suitable for this treatment if your cancer is thought to be contained within the prostate gland (localised prostate cancer) and:
- your PSA level is 10ng/ml or less, and
- your Gleason score is 6 or less, and
- the stage of your cancer is T1 - T2a.
If you have a PSA level between 10 and 20 ng/ml, and a Gleason score of 7, this treatment may still be an option for you as long as tests show that the cancer is unlikely to have spread outside of the prostate. Check with your doctor or nurse. It may not be suitable if you have a large prostate gland, severe problems passing urine, or have recently had an operation called a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).
You may have this treatment on its own or together with external beam radiotherapy and/or hormone therapy. It is just as good at controlling prostate cancer as other treatments.
There is another type of brachytherapy called temporary brachytherapy or high dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy. It is less common than permanent seed brachytherapy.
Watch's Chris' story for one man's experience of brachytherapy.
Or listen to our audio explanation of brachytherapy.