The main advances in prostate cancer treatment are being made in surgery and radiotherapy.
Surgeons are learning how to remove the prostate without causing the problematic nerve damage which was inevitable in the past. And radiotherapy technology advances mean that far higher doses can be targeted more precisely on the prostate, killing more cancer cells with fewer treatments. Recent advances include the use of a technique called brachytherapy.
There are two major methods of prostate brachytherapy, permanent seed implantation and high dose rate (HDR) temporary brachytherapy. Permanent seed implants involve injecting approximately 100 radioactive seeds into the prostate gland. They give off their cancer-killing radiation at a low dose rate over several weeks or months, and the seeds remain in the prostate gland permanently.
HDR temporary brachytherapy instead involves placing very tiny plastic catheters into the prostate gland, and then giving a series of radiation treatments through these catheters.
Another option is High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound, which uses sound waves to ‘melt’ away the cancer.
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