High dose brachytherapy

Brachytherapy is a minimally invasive treatment for prostate cancer which involves the local targeting of cancer cells with radioactive implants inside the body. Low-dose rate brachytherapy involves the permanent implantation of radioactive pellets; we do not offer this treatment at The Prostate Centre but can refer suitable patients to experts elsewhere. High-dose rate brachytherapy, which involves treatment over 1-2 days but which leaves no residual radiation in the body, is not widely available but is offered via The Prostate Centre as a treatment option. Dr Heather Payne is a pioneer of the technique and one of the leading exponents in the UK.

Who is it suitable for?

Men who have localised prostate cancer (ie whose cancer has not spread to other parts of the body), who are not suitable for surgery or wish to avoid prostate removal, and whose prostate size is relatively small.

How does it work?

HDR prostate brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy which is focused where it is needed, allowing little radiation to reach the surrounding healthy tissue. Thin, hollow plastic tubes are inserted into the prostate and wires are then inserted, via which a computer-controlled dose of radiation is delivered. After treatment the tubes and wires are removed altogether. Sometimes this is followed by a course of external beam radiotherapy as this combination treatment has been shown to improve survival.

Where is it done?

Dr Payne performs this technique at University College Hospital, London or at the Harley Street Clinic.

Read Prostate Centre patient Hamish Marett-Crosby’s experience of this treatment.