What Are Brachytherapy Seeds?

Posted on: November 19th, 2018
by: Jennifer


Brachytherapy seeds are essential to every LDR Brachytherapy procedure. Chicago Prostate Cancer Center uses permanent LDR Brachytherapy seeds (also referred to as isotopes). Each Brachytherapy seed gives off different radiation and energy (energy refers to how strong the isotope is). Depending on the doctor’s recommendation, they might want to use brachytherapy seeds with higher or lower radiation and energy. There are three isotopes used at Chicago Prostate Cancer Center: Iodine-125, Palladium-103, and Cesium-131. Below are common questions asked about seeds:

What Makes Brachytherapy Seeds Unique?

Two things make each seed different: the half-life and the energy. The half-life refers to the time it takes for half of the seed’s energy to go away. For example, if something has a 60-day half-life, in 60 days half of its energy is gone and in another 60 days, half of that is gone. The energy will keep halving, getting lesser and lesser. The energy will never reach 0, but rather become smaller decimals.

How Powerful Are The Brachytherapy Seeds?

Each isotope is unique in the fact that each produces different energy levels and have different half-lives. Energy levels are measured in KeV, meaning kilo electron volt, which is measured in one thousand electron volts. Iodine-125 has the longest half-life of the three isotopes. Iodine-125 has an energy of 27.4-35 KeV and a half-life of 59.6 Days. Palladium-103 has the second longest half-life. Palladium-103 has an energy between 20-23 KeV and a half-life of 16.97 days. Cesium-131 has the most energy at 30.4 KeV and has a half-life of 9.7 days.

Is There A Primary Brachytherapy Seed Used?

Doctors may select an isotope depending on what they want to achieve.  They may choose a particular isotope based on psychical changes, family decisions or other factors.

Are the Seeds Used Simultaneously?

The seeds are not used simultaneously. If the radiation oncologist decides that Palladium-103 is the best for the situation, all the seeds used in the procedure are Palladium-103. You cannot have two different types of isotopes used in a seed implant procedure.  

Why Choose Chicago Prostate Cancer Center To Perform The Procedure?

Chicago Prostate Cancer Center typically treats the entire prostate even if only one side of the prostate has cancer. We are the only free-standing center that focuses on Brachytherapy. Every one of our employees has their individual specialty. Each employee focuses on one specific area and specializes in it. This system has proven extremely effective and with better outcomes, more accuracy, and fewer complications. Chicago Prostate Cancer Center performs Focal Therapy as well, if appropriate. Focal therapy is a seed implant procedure that only places isotopes in the cancerous side of the prostate.

Chicago Prostate Cancer Center is one of the few prostate cancer treatment centers that offers all three isotopes. So far, the cure rates within all three seeds are equal. If you’re interested in learning more about prostate cancer, visit our Brachytherapy page.

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Prostate Brachytherapy Side Effects

Posted on: October 11th, 2018
by: Jennifer


Brachytherapy is a procedure that uses radioactive isotopes, also known as seeds, to emit ionizing radiation directly into a malignant tumor. It is a quick, one-time out-patient procedure, taking about an hour.  One of the benefits of this prostate cancer treatment is that there are typically minimal side effects.  The most common side effect after brachytherapy is urinary dysfunction.

Urinary Function:
When looking at urinary side effects, incontinence rates are usually less than 1%1.   Urinary side effects consist of urinary frequency, urgency or burning on urination.  The temporary effects can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. It depends on how your body tolerates the radiation and how much the prostate swells from the radiation. Therefore, urinary side effects are very individual.  If necessary, prescription medications are given to help alleviate the urinary symptoms.  The use of a catheter for a few days occurs in 5-8% of patients.  Any patient who chooses to have surgery, to remove the prostate, will have a catheter for two weeks postoperatively.

Sexual Function:
Approximately 6-25% of patients who receive brachytherapy will experience a decrease in sexual function2 versus approximately 50% of patients who undergo surgery3. Erectile medications and other aids have proven to be very effective.

Bowel Function:
When compared to external beam radiation, patients undergoing prostate brachytherapy experience much lower rates of bowel irritation with prostate brachytherapy4.   At Chicago Prostate Cancer Center we routinely do not see any bowel irritation.

References

  1. Feigenberg SJ, Lee WR, Desilvio ML, et al Health-related quality of life in men receiving prostate brachytherapy on RTOG 98-05. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2005 Jul 15;62(4):956-64.
  2. Rassweiler J, Hruza M, Teber D, et al: Laparoscopic and robotic assisted radical prostatectomy–critical analysis of the results. Eur Urol. 2006 Apr;49(4):612-24
  3. Bittner, N et al. Interstitial brachytherapy should be standard of care for treatment of high-risk prostate cancer. Oncology. August 2008, p. 995-1017.
  4. Quang et al. Technologic evolution in the treatment of prostate cancer. Oncology (21) 13. 1598-1603.

 

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Overuse of Proton Beam for Prostate Cancer

Posted on: September 26th, 2018
by: Jennifer


At Chicago Prostate Cancer Center, patients ask, “What is proton beam?” and “Why do I hear commercials so often for this treatment?” Proton beam therapy (PBT) centers have opened over the past several years.  In the United States, there are 28 sites and an additional 16 in the planning and development stage.  The cost to operate these facilities are expensive, and the start-up cost begins at $20 million (Oncology Nurse Advisor, 2018).

Business developers interested in opening a PBT center have to make speculations when calculating if this is a worthwhile investment.  PBT sustainability, of this expensive form of radiation therapy, is determined through various factors.  Some factors include the number of patients treated annually, the quantity and different types of cancers treated, the incidence of these types of cancers, and percentage of payer type breakdowns, such as Medicare or commercial insurance since it affects reimbursement.

PBT is successful when treating children with cancer or tumors in the skull, spine, eyes, and head and neck since physicians do not want the radiation to reach surrounding organs (Oncology Nurse Advisor, 2018).  According to Tian et al. (2018) “PBT may improve patient survival by improving the local tumor treatment rate while reducing injury to normal organs, which may result in fewer radiation-induced adverse effects. However, the significant cost of establishing and maintaining proton facilities cannot be overlooked. In addition, there has been significant controversy regarding routine application of this treatment in certain types of cancer” (pg. 199). PBT has similar cure rates when compared to external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy, although quality of life and cost effectiveness are not equal (Coen et al., 2012).

Treatment of prostate cancer, with PBT, is under scrutiny because no evidence shows this treatment is more successful than less expensive treatments such as LDR brachytherapy (Gran and Efstathiou, 2013).   Furthermore, Mahal et al. (2016) report “The use of proton therapy to treat patients with prostate cancer have more than doubled between 2004 to 2012, with striking racial disparities in its use noted despite robust multivariable adjustments. Long-term follow-up is needed to determine whether the increased use of proton therapy for prostate cancer is justified” (para. 2).  For financial stakeholders of PBT programs, there is a high incidence of prostate cancer, compared to the other cancers, and therefore, it is beneficial to include prostate cancer patients in the utilization of PBT proformas for their facilities.

References

Coen, et al., (2011, January). Comparison of High-Dose Proton Radiotherapy and Brachytherapy in Localized Prostate Cancer: A Case-Matched Analysis. Genitourinary Cancer, (), 25-31.

Gray, P., & Efstathiou, J. (2013, June). Proton Beam Radiation for Prostate Cancer-is the Hype (and the cost) Justified? Curr Urol Rep14(3).

Mahal, B. (2016, May). National Trends and Determinants of Proton Therapy use for Prostate Cancer: A National Cancer Base Study. Cancer, ().

Oncology Nurse Advisor (2018).  Retrieved from https://www.oncologynurseadvisor.com/general-oncology/cost-vs-benefits-the-controversy-over-proton-beam-radiotherapy/article/747118/

Tian, et al. (2018, January). The Evolution of Proton Beam Therapy: Current and Future Status. Mol Clin Oncology, ().

 

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What is Brachytherapy?

Posted on: September 20th, 2018
by: Jennifer


Chicago Prostate Cancer Center features one of the most effective prostate cancer treatments: LDR Brachytherapy. Over the past twenty years, technology has resulted in dramatic advancements in the precision of prostate brachytherapy. As a result, it has become very popular as a treatment option for patients diagnosed with stage prostate cancer. But what exactly is brachytherapy?  

The term “brachytherapy” comes from the words for short distance (brachy) and treatment (therapy). Brachytherapy, also referred to as seed implantation, uses ionizing radiation to destroy cancer cells. It utilizes radioactive material that is placed either directly into a malignant tumor or very close to it, thus the term brachytherapy.

Prior to the brachytherapy procedure, a volume study is necessary.  A volume study is an ultrasound allow to determine the exact shape and size of the prostate gland. Using the ultrasound images, the physician and dosimetrist will map out how many radiation seeds will be used and the precise placement of them within the prostate. This is similar to having a suit made; the tailor must first measure the chest, arm length, and inseam so that he can make the material to custom-fit the customer’s body. Outlining the area of the prostate gland where the cancer was identified on biopsy also assists physicians in treatment planning.

The day of the seed implant, patients typically arrive one hour before the procedure. A clear liquid diet and laxative is required the day before and nothing should be eaten by mouth after midnight on the day of the procedure. These recommendations minimize gas and allow better visualization of the prostate gland.

In the operating room, the placement of needles that contain the radioactive seeds is guided by the use of ultrasound.

How does it work? Radiation kills the tumor by destroying the DNA within the cancer cell. When the cancer cell attempts to divide and reproduce itself, it is unable to do so because the DNA is no longer intact and as a result, the prostate cancer dies. Since the sources are placed directly into the prostate, rather than radiation delivered from the outside,  side effects are minimized.

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Prostate Cancer Awareness Month at Chicago Prostate Cancer Center

Posted on: September 20th, 2018
by: Jennifer


September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and Chicago Prostate Cancer Center is encouraging men to spread awareness and take charge of their prostate health this month. Chicago Prostate Cancer Center has created a variety of different events to spread awareness for prostate cancer and seed implants at Chicago Prostate Cancer Center.

Run & Walk for Prostate Cancer Awareness

On September 9th, Chicago Prostate Cancer Center hosted its 8th Annual Run and Walk for Prostate Cancer Awareness. The event featured NBC5 news anchor, Dick Johnson and live music from local cover band Blue Sky Blind band. The event also featured a raffle, face painting and silent auctions. The Run & Walk raised more than $45,000 for Prostate Cancer Foundation of Chicago, with over 390 participants.  All registered participants in the 5K were timed, and the three fastest runners for each age group were recognized with a medal or ribbon.

Free Screenings
Each year, Chicago Prostate Cancer Center hosts free prostate cancer screenings to men in the community. The risk of prostate cancer significantly increases with age; men over the age of 45 are encouraged to begin yearly prostate cancer screenings. In its early stages, there are no noticeable symptoms of prostate cancer. This is why getting screened is so critical.


Social Media

During the month of September, Chicago Prostate Cancer Center is inviting everyone to participate in the #ChicagoProstateRibbon Challenge. In order to partake in the challenge, participants need to

  • Take a picture with the CPCC Ribbon.
  • Post the photo to personal social media channels.
  • Tag @ChicagoProstate and use #ChicagoProstateRibbon.
  • Nominate a friend to join the challenge!

We’re encouraging participants to help spread the word about prostate cancer. Looking for other ways to contribute? Grill 89 by Ditka’s is donating 15% of Chef’s Daily feature sales to Prostate Foundation of Chicago during the month of September. Be sure to stop in and enjoy a great meal while supporting a great cause.

Monthly Educational Support Groups
Find support. Our monthly educational support group meetings are open to all- survivors, new patients, wives, partners, family members and anyone else who is interested in prostate cancer and treatment options.  Meeting are hosted by prostate cancer expert, Dr. Brian J. Moran or other credible healthcare providers. Find out more information about our meeting here: https://www.chicagoprostatefoundation.org/chicago-prostate-foundation-events/  

During the month of September, Chicago Prostate Cancer Center is encouraging anyone and everyone to participate in prostate cancer awareness. It’s never too late, nor too early, to start thinking about your prostate health. To find out about different events going on with Chicago Prostate Cancer center, visit our website and like us on social media!

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LDR Brachytherapy Treatment Improves Outcomes for Men with High-Grade Prostate Cancer

Posted on: March 27th, 2018
by: Jennifer


A large new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrated life-saving benefits of LDR brachytherapy—also known as seed implant—for men with high-grade prostate cancer.

LDR brachytherapy treatment for men with high-grade prostate cancer

Researchers at 12 specialty centers were led by Amar U. Kishan, M.D., University of California Los Angeles.  They analyzed prostate cancer treatment outcomes for over 1,809 patients with Gleason scores of 9 and 10—men more likely to have their cancer spread to other organs. The study showed that men who received low dose rate (LDR) brachtherapy as a boost to external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), had better clinical outcomes than men undergoing either radical prostatectomy surgery (removal of the entire prostate gland) or EBRT alone.

Men in both external beam radiation groups also received androgen deprivation hormone therapy, which is prescribed commonly to slow the growth of cancerous tissue and/or reduce the size of the prostate gland pre-treatment.

Better outcomes with LDR brachytherapy

According to the study, adding LDR brachytherapy to EBRT resulted in less prostate cancer deaths and less spread of cancer beyond the prostate. More specifically, EBRT with seed implant resulted in lower 5-year prostate cancer-specific mortality; lower 5-year rate of distant metastasis and lower all-cause mortality within 7.5 years of follow-up, when compared to both prostate removal surgery and to EBRT alone.

Seed implant as a boost treatment for prostate cancer

At Chicago Prostate Cancer Center, combination therapy with LDR brachytherapy reflects the promising findings of the UCLA study.  LDR brachytherapy is provided  following prescribed sessions of external beam radiation.  Placed directly inside the prostate, seed implant safely destroys cancerous tissue with one of several possible sources of ionizing radiation.

Learn more

For more information about prostate cancer treatment, or to schedule a consultation, contact Chicago Prostate Cancer Center at 630-654-2515, or visit prostateimplant.com.

Chicago Prostate Cancer Center treats prostate cancer with a focus on quality of life.

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Understanding Benign PSA Bounce

Posted on: January 30th, 2018
by: Jennifer


 

Should men be worried if their PSA level increases even a year after receiving prostate cancer treatment with LDR Brachytherapy, or seed implant? While rising PSAs are concerning, these patients may be experiencing only a benign (non-cancerous) PSA bounce.

What is PSA Bounce?

Men typically expect a steady decrease in prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test levels after receiving treatment for prostate cancer. While it may be particularly dismaying to men to have a PSA rise in the months after their treatment—instead of the continued PSA drop—more often than not this rise typically resolves without further treatment.

William C. DeWolf, M.D., Chief of the Division of Urology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, addresses this question in Harvard Medical School’s Prostate Knowledge newsletter. “You may be experiencing nothing more than a temporary, benign rise in PSA, a phenomenon often called a PSA bounce, spike, or bump. It’s defined as an increase in PSA of 0.1 to 0.5 ng/ml—or a rise in PSA of 15% or greater over the pre-bounce level—followed by a quick drop to pre-bounce levels without treatment.”

What Causes PSA Bounce?

“Doctors aren’t sure what causes a PSA bounce, though several theories exist. Studies have shown an association between recent ejaculation and higher PSA levels, for example, as well as proctitis (inflammation of the rectum) and the insertion of a catheter. Age and radiation dose may play a role as well. There can also be variability among laboratories in determining PSA levels. Another theory is that a patient may be experiencing a late reaction to the radiation, such as radiation prostatitis,” according to Dr. DeWolf.

What is PSA?

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a substance produced by the prostate gland that may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or infection or inflammation of the prostate. PSA is produced along with semen and helps keep it liquid.

What Happens Next?

Follow up visits after prostate cancer treatment include regular monitoring of PSA level. Physicians carefully consider men’s health in tandem with conditions thought to contribute to rising PSA.

If you have increasing PSA levels after prostate cancer treatment, such as seed implant, your doctor might recommend:

  • Close monitoring. Allowing the post treatment PSA levels to resolve, while repeating PSA testing every 3, 6 or 12 months.
  • Medication. If your doctor suspects prostatitis, you might be prescribed certain medications to cure the infection.
  • Additional tests. If a second test shows high PSA levels, your doctor might recommend imaging of the prostate with ultrasound, CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Prostate cancer cells in remaining prostate tissue or in other parts of your body can release PSA. If cancer is suspected, you might need a repeat biopsy to check remaining prostate tissue.

“The challenge for clinicians is to determine whether the rising PSA represents a bounce or cancer progression. With radiation, treatment is generally not considered a failure until a patient experiences three consecutive increases in PSA,” according to Dr. DeWolf”. “Treatment failure following radiation can also be defined as an increase of 2 ng/ml over the PSA nadir (low point) at any time.”   Again, most cases of PSA bounce following seed implant treatment resolve over time.   Dr. Richard G. Stock reported in International Journal of Radiation Oncology that “PSA bounce does not predict for future PSA failure.”

Who Gets PSA Bounce?

Reporting in Prostate Cancer: A Comprehensive Perspective, Peter Acher concurred that “Following radiotherapy for prostate cancer, the serum PSA level will fall to reach a nadir (low point) several years later. PSA bounce refers to a benign intermittent PSA rise prior to subsequent decrease. Pre-intervention counseling and judicious timing and frequency of PSA-testing post treatment may help relieve the anxieties associated with PSA bounce.”

Learn more

For more information about prostate cancer consultation, screening, treatment, or follow up, contact us at 630-654-2515, or visit prostateimplant.com.   For one man’s perspective, view a YouTube video featuring Bob–a recent patient whose benign PSA rise resolved successfully–with treating physician, Dr. Brian Moran, Chicago Prostate Cancer Center’s Medical Director.

Chicago Prostate Cancer Center treats prostate cancer with a focus on quality of life.

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Surgery not necessarily the best option for prostate cancer

Posted on: October 4th, 2017
by:


Blood sample positive with PSA (prostate specific antigen)

More evidence that surgery may not be the best option for men with early-stage prostate cancer was published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.  Prostate Cancer Intervention Versus Observation Trial (PIVOT), a study of men with tumors confined to the prostate gland, is an important 20-year study lead by the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

PIVOT Study finds no differences in mortality

“Researchers randomly assigned 731 men, average age 67, with localized prostate cancer to receive either surgery or observation only. At the 20-year follow-up, 62% of the men who had prostate cancer surgery had died of other causes, while only 7% died from prostate cancer. In comparison, 67% of the men assigned to observation died from other causes and 11% from prostate cancer. The absolute differences in mortality were not significant,” according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Quality of life often suffers after prostate surgery

Following both groups of men into their mid-80’s, the study also yielded important outcomes information.   “Most striking was how often erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence occurred following surgery. For instance, 80% of the surgery group reported having erectile dysfunction throughout the study, compared with 40% of the men who were not treated. And more than 40% of the men who’d had surgery needed to use a daily pad to manage the urinary incontinence, compared with less than 10% of the observation group.”

Observation through Active Surveillance

Focusing on quality of life, Chicago Prostate Cancer Center (CPCC) tailors treatment to maximize each patient’s health outcomes. At the Center, men who choose to follow the observation path, also called Active Surveillance, receive periodic evaluation for prostate cancer risk based on: prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test results, detection of abnormal prostate upon digital rectal exam, current and past health considerations, family history of prostate or other cancers, as well as other factors.

Valuable information available with sophisticated mapping biopsy

Men benefiting from CPCC’s Active Surveillance protocol may be candidates for Stereotactic Transperineal Biopsy (STPB).  A sophisticated mapping technique pioneered by the Center, STPB provides a comprehensive understanding of the entire prostate gland, even areas “hidden” to the approach taken with more limited, routine rectal biopsies.

Tissue sampling by STPB opens the door to information such as tumor grading and prostate cancer staging. Furthermore, genomic analysis of tissue samples can reveal how aggressively a tumor is likely to grow, helping gauge the need for more active treatment.  STPB, performed with the aid of high resolution ultrasound, also adds mapping data about relative tumor location within the prostate gland, informing treatment planning if needed in the future.

Seed implant as happy medium between observation and surgery

Taken together, this information helps men undergoing observation for prostate cancer decide with their physician whether or when definitive treatment becomes their next step.   And if so, men are advised to explore all their treatment options, including alternatives to prostate removal surgery.  According to Dr. Brian J. Moran, CPCC Medical Director, “Prostate seed implant can be a happy medium between observation and surgery.” Especially for cancers located within the prostate gland, seed implant (or low-dose rate brachytherapy) provides an effective, minimally invasive treatment, with better urinary, rectal and sexual functioning outcomes, and a quicker return to normal daily activities and life-style.

Contact  Chicago Prostate Cancer Center

For more information, or to schedule a consultation, contact the Chicago Prostate Cancer Center at 630-654-2515, or visit prostateimplant.com.

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Slade star undergoes brachytherapy to treat prostate cancer

Posted on: April 25th, 2017
by:


Check out the blog quoted below, posted by British company BXTAccelyon, about Jim Lea and his struggle with high-risk prostate cancer.  Bass player for the band “Slade”, Lea chose treatment in the UK with LDR Brachytherapy, also known as seed implant.

 Jim Lea’s prostate cancer journey

”Jim Lea, bass player for Slade, has revealed he has been battling prostate cancer for more than two years. In a bid to help others who may be going through a similar situation, he agreed to an exclusive radio interview for Paul Franks’ show on 95.6FM BBC WM.  Here, he discusses his own personal battle with prostate cancer and gives an extremely candid view of the treatments he underwent.

Jim explains he was diagnosed with high risk prostate cancer, which he was able to undergo brachytherapy treatment for in Leeds. Speaking about his treatment, Jim comments: “They were very good to me and we love Leeds now. We go up there just to go to the hospital to check me out. It worked out really well”.

Following on from his brachytherapy treatment, Jim is now undergoing hormone therapy, which he is due to complete in August of this year. Hormone therapy is not a prerequisite of brachytherapy or a cure for prostate cancer in its own right, but in some cases of localised (sic) prostate cancer it may be offered alongside a patient’s main treatment.”

About LDR Brachytherapy

After a diagnosis of prostate cancer, patients will be offered a range of different treatment options. If the prostate cancer is localised (sic), brachytherapy may be a suitable option. Low dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy whereby small seeds (the size of a grain of rice) are implanted in the affected area.

In comparison with surgery brachytherapy is a much less invasive treatment with fewer side effects. Erectile dysfunction and loss of bladder control is less common, and patients have shorter recovery times, often returning to work and / or sporting activities within two weeks of the procedure.”

Remember Slade and hear interview with Jim Lea

To read more about Slade and listen to Jim Lea’s interview on BBC Radio, click here.

Seed implant: effective prostate cancer treatment in Chicago area

Seed implants provide equal or better success rates, with fewer side effects and faster recovery, than prostate cancer treatment with surgery or external beam radiation.  Observing our 20th year of service to men with prostate cancer, Chicago Prostate Cancer Center has treated more patients with LDR Brachytherapy than any other medical center in the world.  For more information, visit us at prostateimplant.com.

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VA offers successful and cost-effective seed implant as their better choice of prostate cancer treatment

Posted on: April 6th, 2017
by:


A recent radio program highlighted how a Veterans Administration facility, located in Richmond, Virginia, successfully uses LDR brachytherapy (also known as seed implant) to treat vets with aggressive prostate cancer.  McGuire VA Medical Center is reaching out to veterans with prostate cancer from across the country.

Brachytherapy: cost effective, successful treatment model

Brachytherapy, a  minimally invasive procedure, provides excellent prostate cancer outcomes, is cost-effective and convenient,  especially when compared to other treatment options. Radiation sources smaller than a grain of rice are placed inside the prostate, near cancer cells that are then disrupted and destroyed.  At approximately 1/3 the cost of either surgical removal of the prostate or external beam radiation therapy, brachytherapy should serve as a model for other government sponsored healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.  Why would government sponsored programs pay more for treatments that do not provide better outcomes or fewer side effects?

Brachytherapy saves VA funds

Radiation oncologist and McGuire VA physician Dr. Drew Moghanaki described the current financial climate of prostate cancer treatment :

“The U.S. healthcare system is really a fee-for-service healthcare system. The more expensive procedures that can be done, the more revenue can be made. And brachytherapy just doesn’t make a lot of money for, you know, practitioners out in the real world. When you put together the convenience of a one-day procedure that is more effective and more cost effective, it really is a win, win, win.”

Seed implant is equally attractive to men who are self-insured or have large deductibles and/or co-payment requirements.  Furthermore, with minimal side-effects and a short recovery period, brachytherapy allows men to return more quickly to their normal activities and work, a benefit to employers and productivity.

Seed implant treatment option preferred by many men

Brachtherapy’s convenience and comfort draws contrasts with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and surgery.  EBRT can require six-to-eight weeks of daily treatment which, while cumbersome to the average patient, may be impossible for men who live in remote areas.  Surgical removal of the prostate (also called radical prostatectomy) requires a much longer recovery time and is no more effective than seed implants. Like EBRT, surgery can cause greater side effects.   A veteran from Puerto Rico, highlighted in the radio program, was offered the surgery option.  Instead, he travelled to the VA facility in Virginia where he could chose minimally invasive brachytherapy.

CPCC also serves veterans with prostate cancer

McGuire VA physicians have used LDR brachytherapy to treat over 1,000 military living in areas of the country that may only offer surgery or EBRT.  Similarly, Chicago Prostate Cancer Center (CPCC) has served over 600 men who have travelled from far beyond the Chicago area for consultation on seed implant.  Many of these men are included among over 14,000 brachytherapy procedures completed by CPCC to date, more than any other prostate center in the world.

The Veterans Health Care Administration has a responsibility to offer quality medical treatment within 30 days and pay for treatment at an alternative location if it is not available within 40 miles of the veteran’s home.  Dr. Moghanaki recently visited Chicago Prostate Cancer Center, and is now collaborating with us to treat their overabundance of prostate cancer patients choosing LDR brachytherapy.

One veteran’s treatment journey

Kenny, a veteran from Georgia, served in the Army’s 4th Infantry Division in the early 1980’s after graduation from North Georgia College—a highly regarded military school in Dahlonega, GA.  Last year at age 57, Kenny received a prostate cancer diagnosis that required several types of treatment, which is not uncommon for men with certain higher-risk prostate cancers.

Kenny’s son in the Chicago suburbs knew about the unique expertise of CPCC—a leader in the field of LDR brachytherapy.  They were both grateful Kenny was eligible to receive the seed implant portion of his treatment at CPCC, in coordination with the excellent additional required treatment he received at Hines VA Hospital — all while being with family.

Vet recommends services, support he received at CPCC

“In addition to access to the modern facilities at CPCC and the professional expertise of Dr. Moran and the entire staff, I was received as an individual rather than the next patient and provided the emotional confidence which is key to successful treatment.”

While in town for his seed implant, Kenny showed his support at our annual community 5k event.  He is planning to visit again to reconnect and join other survivors at our next Run and Walk for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, September 10, 2017.

An avid outdoorsman, Kenny looks forward to many upcoming fishing and hunting seasons.

Information for men, including our veterans

For more information on prostate cancer and LDR brachytherapy, or to speak with a volunteer who is a ‘veteran’ of prostate cancer treatment, contact Chicago Prostate Cancer Center at 630-654-2515.  Or attend a Prostate Cancer Informational Support Group meeting at the Center.  Veterans can also contact the Veterans Choice Program to determine if they meet eligibility criteria for authorization of treatment with seed implant at our facility.

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