Prostate Brachytherapy now offered at UPMC CancerCenter, UPMC Horizon
FARRELL, May 18, 2012– UPMC Horizon is now offering prostate brachytherapy through the UPMC CancerCenter, UPMC Horizon, located at its Shenango Valley campus.
Brachytherapy, also known as internal radiotherapy, is a form of radiation therapy where a radiation source is placed inside or next to the area requiring treatment. For prostate cancer, a common technique is the implementation of small radioactive seeds surgically implanted directly into the prostate. The seeds are the size of rice grains, and the radiation in the seeds destroys the cancer cells. After a few months, the radiation becomes inactive and does not affect the surrounding tissue.
Raymond B. Wynn, MD, FACR, clinical professor of radiation oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and medical director of the UPMC CancerCenter, UPMC Horizon, says brachytherapy is “somewhere between surgery and external radiation therapy in our approach to treating prostate cancer. It’s an option for some men, but not all.”
“This is a procedure done by radiation oncologists and urologists as a team,” says Dr. Wynn, adding that the urologist and radiation oncologist work side-by-side in the operating room to administer brachytherapy. Suresh Amina, MD, and Anthony Elisco, DO, of Northwest Pennsylvania Urology Associates-UPMC, are the urologists who perform brachytherapy at UPMC Horizon’s Shenango Valley campus.
Brachytherapy is a one-time procedure that can be performed in about 90 minutes. Most patients are able to go home the same day or the next day and resume regular activities within a week.
The curative outcomes for prostate brachytherapy are about equal to surgery or external beam radiation therapy, says Dr. Wynn. The advantages to brachytherapy are the short duration of the procedure (compared to weeks of external beam radiation therapy), minimal side effects, and the quick recovery time. It is ideal for those who either can’t have surgery or don’t want surgery. However, brachytherapy does not treat the lymph nodes, as external radiation does.
For more information about brachytherapy at the UPMC CancerCenter, UPMC Horizon, call 724-983-7570.