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.