MAYWOOD, IL – Loyola University Medical Center is the first academic medical center in the Chicago area to offer a precise radiation treatment for prostate cancer called high dose rate (HDR) prostate brachytherapy, in which the radiation dose is delivered in just minutes and removed immediately after the treatment.
HDR prostate brachytherapy differs from the most common form of prostate brachytherapy – low dose rate (LDR) – because the radioactive “seed” is removed immediately after treatment rather than multiple seeds being implanted in the prostate and remaining radioactive for months.
“What sets HDR brachytherapy apart is the ability to sculpt the radiation dose to reliably avoid healthy organs, such as the bladder, rectum and urethra,” said Loyola radiation oncologist Abhishek Solanki, MD. “Since the radiation source is removed immediately after completion of treatment, patients do not have to take radiation precautions after they leave the hospital.”
The outpatient HDR brachytherapy treatment involves a one-hour procedure performed by the radiation oncologist in conjunction with the urologist. This is followed by a CT scan and sophisticated radiation treatment planning to maximize the chance the cancer is cured, while minimizing potential side effects. The individualized radiation dose is then delivered using a robotic system, and the patient goes home later that day.
In some patients with more aggressive prostate cancer, HDR brachytherapy may be used in combination with a shorter course of external beam radiation in order to deliver a higher radiation dose to the prostate.
“This cutting-edge treatment offers a more convenient and customizable option for prostate cancer patients,” Dr. Harkenrider said. “HDR brachytherapy is a reliable and consistent method for delivering precise radiation doses to the prostate. It has been shown to be a safe and highly effective treatment.”
In addition to HDR brachytherapy for prostate cancer, Loyola offers radical prostatectomy, IMRT, proton therapy and LDR brachytherapy. All these treatments have been shown to be safe and effective, and each treatment has advantages and disadvantages.
“At Loyola, we are committed to offering our patients the full range of options for treatment of their prostate cancer,” said William Small Jr., MD, chair of the department of radiation oncology of Loyola University Medical Center. “While every patient will determine the best course of action with his physician, Loyola is proud to offer HDR brachytherapy as an option to our patients.”