New for prostate cancer

Every year in the United States as many as 161,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Treatments include surgery, radiation, or both. One type of radiation is brachytherapy or the planting of radioactive seeds inside the prostate. Now, a new study shows one type of seed may reduce long-term symptoms and side effects.

Dave Ricordati was 56 when doctors diagnosed him with prostate cancer. His first thought was about his wife Kathy and their three children.

“Our youngest daughter is getting married in March and I want to walk her down the aisle. These are all the things you worry about as a dad, as a husband that you’re going to miss out,” Dave said.

He didn’t want surgery to remove the prostate.

“Quite honestly, I wanted to have sex and intimacy after the treatment and I don’t think that treatment provided those options," Dave explained.

Instead, Dr. Brian Moran, Medical Director of the Chicago Prostate Center treated Dave with brachytherapy. He recently studied the effectiveness of an isotope called Cesium-131. It’s designed to deliver the radiation dose with less concern about the patient exposing children and pets to radiation.

“Some patients come in and say you know, ‘doctor, I can’t be radioactive for six months,’ or it’s usually five half-lifes. With cesium there’s some element of radiation present for a month,” Dr. Moran explained.

Seventy-two-year-old Lee Gimbel is a volunteer with Alzheimer’s patients. He wanted a treatment that would get him back to normal quickly.

“It was rather fast. Rather routine. It felt better than having anything surgical,” Lee stated.

Dave Ricordati is back to playing men’s floor hockey. A hobby he was afraid he would have had to give up if he had surgery.

Dave said, “This is the least side effects with the same cure rate. I don’t know why anybody would pick anything else to be honest.”

Doctor Moran recently completed a randomized study of the Cesium-131 isotope and found it was just as effective as other isotopes in the radiation seeds. Moran says patients with stage one and stage two cancers that have not spread outside the prostate are good candidates for brachytherapy.


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