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ETMC Cancer Institute

We treat cancer. We care for people.

Prostate Seed Implants

The ETMC Cancer Institute was the first facility in East Texas to offer transrectal, ultrasound-guided prostate brachytherapy. In a one-day procedure, small radioactive seeds are very accurately placed inside the prostate gland to give direct, high doses of radiation to the prostate tumor.

Because the radiation only goes where it is needed, side effects are mild. Patients go home the same day and resume their normal activities within a few days. The ETMC Cancer Institute's radiation oncologist, teamed with a specially trained group of urologists, carefully evaluates each case and discusses treatment options, with surgery or longer courses of radiation therapy sometimes necessary.

The Prostate Gland

The prostate gland is located at the base of the penis just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It produces the fluid that transports semen during ejaculation. The size and shape of the prostate gland varies considerably, but it is usually about two to three inches in diameter.

Cancer of the prostate, like other cancers, is a disease of the body's cells. All cells reproduce themselves by dividing. Normal growth and repair of the tissue takes place in this orderly manner. Cancer is a kind of abnormal growth that may invade and destroy nearby tissues and organs or spread to other parts of the body. Cancer may arise in any part of the prostate gland but is most commonly found in the outer portions. It is more common in older men. Like most forms of cancer, prostate cancer is curable if it is caught early.

How Does Radiation Kill Cancer?

In order to kill cancer, the physicians place radioactive "seeds" into the prostate gland. These radioactive seeds (either Iodine 125 or Palladium 103) give low energy X-rays which destroy the cancer in the prostate but leave the rest of the body alone.

The radioactive seeds are about the size of a grain of rice. Typically, the physician will place about 70 to 150 of the seeds. The exact location depends on the actual size of the prostate gland. Even though the cancer is visible in a portion of the gland, there may be tiny amounts of cancer throughout the prostate. For this reason, the entire gland is treated.

Call 903-595-5550 for more information.