13 September 2017

Take 10: What is prostate brachytherapy?

Cancer Clinical

Prostate brachytherapy allows the precise targeting of radiotherapy in tumours.

There are two types of prostate brachytherapy with different purposes, says Associate Professor Jeremy Millar, the director of Radiation Oncology at Alfred Health.

“The first is what we call low-dose-rate brachytherapy or LDR and the second one is high-dose rate brachytherapy or HDR,” he says.

“LDR is implanting little, tiny radioactive seeds. They are about the size of a small grain of rice. They’ve got iodine-125, it’s a radioactive element. It gives off radiation inside the prostate.”

The seeds are implanted permanently into the prostate gland in very precise locations under ultrasound guidance.

HDR is a temporary implant, which is usually done in conjunction with external beam radiation to boost the dose.