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Radioactive seed implantation for prostate cancer patients

Physicians at Baptist Health Cancer Care are performing a procedure that has proven to be effective for prostate cancer patients. The procedure, known as radioactive seed implantation, destroys cancerous tumors from inside the prostate using implanted, low-dosage radioactive seeds to precisely direct radiation at the tumor.

Radioactive seed implantation is a two-stage treatment. First, a study is conducted to determine the precise location and size of the tumor. That information is given to a radiation oncologist (a physician who specializes in treating cancer with radiation), who develops a dosage plan. During the second stage of treatment, a urologist and radiation oncologist permanently implant 100 to 120 radioactive seeds in the prostate. Both procedures are performed on an outpatient basis.

Radioactive seed implantation offers an alternative to prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate) for men whose cancer is confined to the prostate. It offers many benefits, including:

  • the ability to return to normal activities within 48 hours of the procedure, compared to weeks with conventional surgery;
  • reduction of the incidence of impotence and incontinence, two common side effects of prostate surgery;
  • reduction of the effects of radiation on surrounding tissues and organs, a problem of external radiation;
  • the ability to return home on the same day, or after a short, overnight stay; and
  • the ability to deliver a higher effective dose of radiation than can be done externally.

For more information about the procedure, call the Baptist Health Information Center at (502) 897-8131 or e-mail at