Meet David – the 1000th patient to undergo specialist treatment for prostate cancer at the Kent Oncology Centre at Maidstone Hospital.
David was given LDR (Low Dose Rate) prostate brachytherapy, a treatment for localised prostate cancer last week. The procedure involves implanting tiny radioactive ‘seeds’ in the prostate using ultrasound guidance.
The specialist technique, which has been an established and proven treatment for prostate cancer for over three decades, means patients receive very targeted treatment with fewer side effects. It takes just 45-60 minutes to carry out the surgery and patients can go home the same day.
With the brachytherapy seeds in place, radiation is accurately delivered to the prostate over a number of months with very little exposure to other parts of the body. The treatment also means men can usually continue with all their normal activities, including work and exercise.
MTW is one of a limited number of hospitals in the UK offering this procedure, and treated their first patient back in 2006. The expert Prostate Brachytherapy Team share their specialist knowledge by mentoring other brachytherapy centres including The Royal Marsden and healthcare centres further afield in Europe. In doing so, the team aims to increase opportunities for medical staff to become familiar with the technique and make it more accessible for patients internationally.
David, 77, from Tankerton, Kent, said: “Everything went as smooth as silk – a few days after the treatment I was back down my allotment and less than two weeks after the procedure it was like nothing had happened and I was totally back to normal. I’ve got nothing but praise and the NHS has done me proud, they are an excellent team at Maidstone and you can see how close-knit they are.
“I’m really lucky to have been born on the doorstep of one of the best centres in the UK.”
Chief of Cancer Services for MTW, Philippa Moth, said: “Being diagnosed with cancer can have such an impact on the lives of our patients and their families. It is really important that we are continuously developing our care, using innovative and established treatments which not only improve outcomes for our patients, but also improve their care experience.
“This is a fantastic milestone for the team to reach and demonstrates their vast experience with this specialist treatment. They’ve helped change the lives of so many people with their care and continue to ensure our patients are not only given quick access to treatment but are supported throughout their treatment.”
About LDR Brachytherapy:
Low dose-rate brachytherapy (seed implantation) is a type of internal radiotherapy for prostate cancer. It is targeted at the site of the tumour so the radiation kills the cancer cells minimising damage to surrounding healthy cells. It is not major surgery and usually you will only spend 1 day in hospital. Generally, LDR brachytherapy has a low complication rate, and most men return to their usual pre-treatment activities within a couple of days.
LDR brachytherapy involves inserting tiny radioactive capsules or seeds directly into the prostate gland through fine needles. Each seed is the size of a grain of rice, and between 80-120 seeds will be used, depending on the size of the prostate and the tumour location. Radiation released from the brachytherapy seeds accurately targets the tumour, destroying the cancer cells. The seeds are positioned close to the tumour and release most of their radiation over the first few months after being inserted.
LDR brachytherapy is said to be more ‘targeted’ than conventional (external) beam radiotherapy, and it has a lower incidence of severe side effects.
For more information, please see www.bxta.com