Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What type of physician typically performs prostate brachytherapy and in what kind of setting?

A: Prostate brachytherapy is performed in an outpatient setting within the hospital. The team consists of a radiation oncologist, urologist, radiation physicist and an anesthesiologist.

Q: Are patients radioactive after the procedure?

A: Almost all of the radiation energy is absorbed into the prostate gland. It is nevertheless recommended that small children and pregnant women not sit on the patient's lap for several months after treatment. Other normal activities, such as hugging children, sleeping with a spouse, or sitting around a table are fine.

Q: Does the PSA test tell me the status of my cancer after the prostate brachytherapy procedure?

A: Yes, the PSA test is the best measure we have for determining whether the cancer is in remission and not a threat to spread. As long as the PSA test is not significantly increasing, the chance of tumor recurrence is very low. It is common however to have temporary, inconsequential rises in PSA during the first and second year.

Q: Why choose the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center?

A: At the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, we have treated well over 2,000 patients with a wide range of stages. The outcomes at 12 to 15 years following the procedure are excellent, with a substantial majority of patients remaining cancer-free. These results show that ultrasound-guided radioactive implantation by very experienced doctors is highly effective in controlling prostate cancer and has essentially the same result as surgery or external radiation for appropriately selected prostate cancer patients. According to a number of studies, 90 percent of men with low-risk prostate cancer who were appropriate candidates for radiation seed therapy remained free from prostate cancer for at least five years.

Q: What are my chances of preserving erections after the prostate brachytherapy procedure?

A: Based on reports from studies such as those from the Seattle Prostate Institute, the chance of preserving erectile function suitable for sexual intercourse after seed placement is at least 70 percent.