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Cancer brachytherapy at Fuda Cancer Hospital, Guangzhou, China

Brachytherapy at Fuda Cancer Hospital does not require a surgical incision and offers patients a shorter recovery period.

For example, in prostate cancer, brachytherapy is an outpatient procedure and most patients go home the same day. A few days after treatment, they can return to normal.

The implantation of radioactive "grains" takes from 45 minutes to 1 hour. Implantation of radioactive “grains” with “grains” of iodine-125 gives a lower radiation dose rate than palladium-103. Since iodine-125 has a longer half-life than palladium-103, this is an ideal treatment for slowly growing tumors such as prostate cancer.

The radioactive "grains" of iodine 125, having a half-life of 59 days, produce a short course of gamma rays. "Grains" implanted in a cancerous tumor emit rays to destroy specific cells, preventing unnecessary irradiation of the whole organism from radiation.

Referring to the images offered by CT or MRI, and using methods of computational optimization, doctors can create a three-dimensional conformal treatment plan that contains the correct dosage for the destruction of cancer cells. The number and location of implantable radioactive "grains" are accurately calculated. The implantation of radioactive "grains" is often performed subcutaneously (through the skin) under the supervision of ultrasound or CT, as well as directly with direct visual control during surgery.

How is brachytherapy

At the Fuda Cancer Hospital, an ultrasound scan of the volume is performed before the procedure to see the size and location of the cancerous tumor, as well as the surrounding organs.

At the preliminary planning stage, a predefinition is carried out to accurately calculate the number of radioactive "grains" that the patient will need, and to determine the location of these "grains" that should be implanted.

During the procedure, the patient is prescribed local anesthesia. For proper placement of the "grains", an ultrasound probe is placed on the cancerous tumor to obtain an image of the tumor. Typically, from 20 to 100 "grains" are placed inside the needles, which are inserted into the tumor. Based on the plan, an ultrasonic probe provides maximum accuracy in the direction of the needles.

Side effects

The patient may feel mild discomfort after treatment. Such symptoms usually decrease after a few days.

Patients with prostate cancer may experience discomfort when urinating, such as frequent urination. These symptoms usually begin 1–2 weeks after the procedure and gradually decrease over time until the “grains” lose their strength. Drinking enough water and preventing caffeine and alcohol can help relieve these symptoms.

A small percentage of patients, especially those who have undergone prostate surgery, may experience incontinence. Impotence may also occur in some patients, especially those over the age of 70. However, the incidence rate of impotence and incontinence in patients receiving a grain of iodine-125 is lower than in patients receiving other treatments.

Price

The price of brachytherapy is $ 90 - one procedure (the amount depends on the size of the tumor).

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