This group caters for patients who have had, or who are considering prostate brachytherapy to treat prostate cancer. The group includes patients from all over the UK.
The group currently meets every 2 months on Zoom, usually on the 2nd Thursday in the evening - see the Events tab. Each meeting includes time for peer-to-peer support and asking questions, and some meetings also include a presentation.
What is Brachytherapy?
Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy, where the radiation source is placed on or inside the organ to be treated. This is in contrast to teletherapy where the radiation source is away from the person and beamed towards the organ, such as external beam radiotherapy, SBRT/SABR/cyberknife, proton beam therapy, etc. Brachytherapy can deliver high doses of radiation to tumors without the radiation having to go through other body tissues/organs which don't need exposing to the radiation (known as Organs At Risk).
This support group caters for both types of prostate brachytherapy:
- Seed/permanent/LDR brachytherapy, where radioactive seeds are inserted into the prostate. These release radiation to treat the organ for a length of time (typically around 4 months, depending on the radioactive isotope used) before the radioactivity in the seeds has decayed away. The seeds remain permanently, but are inert after the treatment.
LDR = Low Dose Rate.
- Temporary/HDR brachytherapy, where a single high power radioactive seed is inserted into the prostate for typically about 10 minutes, and then removed, after which treatment is finished. Nothing is left in the prostate after treatment.
HDR = High Dose Rate.
The principle of the two types of treatment is the same, but the short term side effects can be different, particularly in timings.
LDR Brachytherapy is not suitable for the more aggressive prostate cancers.
Both types of brachytherapy can also be used as a boost in addition to external beam radiotherapy, known variously as Brachytherapy Boost, LDR Boost, HDR Boost.
HDR Brachytherapy is most often delivered in the form of HDR Boost together with a reduced dose of external beam radiotherapy. In the past, HDR Brachytherapy was also done as two sessions without additional radiotherapy.
Hormone therapy is often also part of the treatment plan, typically for 3-6 months before the brachytherapy treatment, and sometimes for a period afterwards too.
Brachytherapy treatment protocols vary between countries, and if you are outside the UK, different treatment protocols may apply.