People respond to treatments in different ways. The type of side effects that may be experienced depends on a number of factors, such as the stage of the prostate cancer and whether there are any compounding health problems. Side effects may appear in the short-term (known as acute side effects), which typically resolve soon after treatment. Other side effects may appear several months later (long-term side effects).
Brachytherapy is associated with a reduced risk of side effects compared to other treatment options for prostate cancer.
People respond to treatments in different ways and you may or may not experience some of these side effects. Importantly, the long-term risks are generally lower with brachytherapy compared to other treatment options for prostate cancer, including surgery (radical prostatectomy) and external beam radiotherapy (EBRT).
Furthermore, even if you are affected by some of these side effects, many patients find that their urinary, bowel and sexual function returns to normal after 6-12 months.
Discuss your treatment options and the relative risks of potential side effects with your healthcare professional.
If high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy is used, the radiation sources are only temporarily placed in the body and are removed after each treatment. Hence, there is no radiation risk to family or friends.10
If low dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy (seed therapy) is used, only the seeds give out radiation, and these will not make you radioactive. The radiation levels given out by the seeds are very low and reduce to almost undetectable levels over the course of several months. As a precaution, your healthcare professional may advise you to avoid close contact with small children and pregnant women for a short time after the brachythrapy procedure.11
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