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 "Prostate Cancer Treatment"

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Prostate Cancer Treatment

If a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, he faces a confusing array of treatment choices. One increasingly popular therapy involves implanting radioactive seeds in the prostate. But placement of the seeds has always been difficult. Luckily, a new technique that may help improve accuracy of the radioactive seed placement in prostate cancer treatment has been developed.

Many patients fighting early stage prostate cancer receive radiation therapy instead of surgery. Tiny pellets - or seeds - are implanted directly in the prostate. These radioactive seeds are slowly releasing the radiation inside the tumor.

Radiation oncologists typically implant 60-200 seeds. The placement of those seeds dictates how much radiation is delivered to the cancerous cells. Determining the proper positions is critical.

Researchers believe they've found a way to help determine the best seed locations by using sophisticated math. On the horizion is a software program that takes a three-dimensional ultrasound image and optimizes it, giving doctors the high quality pictures they need for the most accurate plan of attack. Using the mathematical approach, they are able to come up with plans that provide good coverage to the tumor, and at the same time reduce the toxicity to the critical structures.

They can actually design the plan on the spot during implantation. As the clinician places the seeds inside, they can look up at those and make changes as needed. It will help doctors in giving better treatment that prolongs the life of the patient, that saves the patient from detrimental side effects.

So far, this new software program seems to improve the accuracy of the seed placement while reducing damage to the surrounding tissue. Better still, it is producing a lower risk of side effects - such as impotence and incontinence.

To date, this placement system has been tested on more than 200 patient cases. The data is now being prepared for FDA evaluation.

Jim Shaw

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