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Brachytherapy (radiation seeds)

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2012

has anyone had the treatment and if so what were the results and side effects

Posts: 111
Joined: May 2009

I don't know how to "link" my earlier post so here's the jist of it.

I had brachytherapy in January of 2008 (Kaiser in Roseville, CA). I didn't experience any "burning" issues at that time but certainly had "urgency" issues. That's easy to deal with as long as the catheter is in place but after it's out you may become somewhat of a track star as you head to the bathroom LOL You may also experience reduced flow for awhile - the surgery upsets your prostate (swelling) - but it will pass in time as things settle down.

You may also experience urgency issues related to bowel movements. In my case this lasted for a few months and then went away. That's the good news. The not-so-good news (for me anyway) is that it all came back a few years later (about 2-1/2 years later as I recall) but only lasted a few months. When it did come back, I experienced a "burning" sensation and, quite frankly, that concerned me. I also had a return of reduced flow issues and had to go back on terazosin for a few months.

At the same time, I also experienced a PSA "bounce" so putting 2+2 together caused a little concern. The doctor said my situation wasn't "common" but does happen to some guys."

Here's my updated PSA history for your review:

06/13/05 2.5
10/20/06 3.8
08/10/07 4.8
11/09/07 3.5
01/04/08 3.4 Brachytherapy January 10, 2008
04/10/08 1.1
07/09/08 0.4
10/07/08 0.2
01/08/09 0.4
07/02/09 0.5
08/31/09 0.7
12/07/09 0.8
07/14/10 1.0
11/17/10 1.3
03/17/11 0.3
07/28/11 0.2
1/14/12 0.1

Welcome to the board - you are about to get a wealth of information from the members!


Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2011

Welcome sbayer:

I had 28 IMRT sessions followed by 88 Iodine-125 seeds on Oct. 12. Given my intermediate risk catagory, combination therapy was recommended.

Although my radiotherpist is one of the top guys in the US, if I would have had only 1-2-3 positive biopsy needles at 20% invlovement or lower, with a PSA level lower than 6.5, and a Gleason lower than 6, my guy would have recommended IMRT only. I have a friend in this "low risk" catagory going to the same doctor.

The radiotherapist says seed side effects can be more severe that those with IMRT. The worst of which is the low percentage chance of urethra stricture. Some say this is a 15% chance and some say it is more like 5%. This doctor does both procedures and combined them for me, so he does not have only one dog in the hunt. The cure rate statistically is about 4% higher with seeds over IMRT. In the hands of a top Brachytherapist, seeds carry the highest documented long-term cure rate of any other treatment option.

In any event, I have been on Flomax since a week before the Brachytherapy. I really do not know if I need it or not. There is some stop-and-go urination, but nothing serious.

We will see if anything else pops up, but so far side effects are quite managable, my PSA has dropped to 1.1 from 3.96, and I am living to totally normal life.

Good luck to you!


Posts: 36
Joined: Jul 2011

My case is very similar to Robert in my diagnosis and treatment. I had 25 IMRT treatments followed by 55 Cs-131 seeds at the end of November 2011. There was a 7 week gap between my treatments. The IMRT was mostly event free. A slight weakness in stream and slight urgency which had gotten better prior to the BT.

I started Flomax 3 days prior to BT. The worst part of the hospital stay, 8 hours total, was the burning of the catheter while it was installed. It really hurt the end of my penis - I was given a painkiller and it got better. After removal, I was asked to urinate on my own. Since they were pumping fluids into me via IV, I was able to void. They used an ultrasound to measure the remaining fluid in my bladder. I was then required to wait a couple more hours and do it again. Similar results - no problem voiding with little remaining. I was released without a catheter - to my relief.

The implant site bled for a day and a half - maybe because I sat on a hard chair in a restaurant. There was also blood in my urine after I got home -but not while in the hospital. 2 days later it cleared. It also burned while starting to urinate for about a week. The frequency was about every 2 hours and felt urgent. This was not a problem as I had been doing Kegels for the previous 3 months in preparation. I read about them on this site and I must say that I have never had any leakage then or since. I highly recommend starting them as soon as possible prior to any treatment.

There was an increase in my bowel movements and urgency also for several weeks. I have been on a high fiber diet for many years and I had to reduce my fiber to avoid too much gas.

I was also taking Motrin 600 mg, a couple of times a day. That helped with any swelling and discomfort. I had to sit on a pillow or very soft chair, slightly leaning back for several weeks to avoid any discomfortable feelings in the area. I also noticed an increased tingling sensation at the base of my penis. This increased my libido and resulted in many erections with fully functioning results - happy about that.

Slowly the urgency was reduced and my stream has improved. I still have excess gas which at times results in a weak flow. After releasing the gas, my urine stream is fine. I guess I still don't have the fiber amount optimised as yet. I am still taking Flomax and my doctor says I should stop it in another month or so to see how I do.

After 1-2 months, I had noticed a reduction in libido and no longer have the exciting tingling that I enjoyed initially. I have slight ED problems and started Levitra to keep exercising this muscle. All systems are go so far.

Overall, I believe my results are satisfactory. I have not had a post PSA done yet - coming in a couple of weeks. My doctors and I are confident in future results.

Good luck with your journey.

Posts: 23
Joined: Nov 2011

I just had my seeds installed yesterday at Moffitt. Overall the experience was not bad. My surgery was at 7:15am, by 10:30 I was out of the hospital. I found out I had cancer on October 13, 2011. My PSA at the time was, 93, 110, and finally 118. My prostate wa swollen to 60. I completed 25 IMRT treatments on Jan 18, and am on Lupron. My PSA on Jan 18 was 0.34. My prostate size was down to 34, which was important achievement. I would not have received the seeds if my prostate was larger than 50.

I had 64 Palladium seeds installed and am sore in my crotch area. I woke up from the anesthesia without my catheter, and was able to urinate with reduced flow. Passing a little blood, nothing alarming. I am taking Flomax, Adovart, Cipro and Celebrex. The celebrex is to help minimize the swelling with the prostate. Still somewhat tired, biggest complaint thus far is gas, I have had a lot of gas today.

I thought it might be helpful To hear some info on results after the surgery.

Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2012

I had brachytherapy on Jan 18th, 2012 @ UT Medical Ctr. They implanted 87 Palladium 103 seeds, and I spent about 6 hours total in the hospital and was released with the cathether in place. It was quite bothersome, and luckily I only had it in place until the next afternoon, when I took it out at home (following nurse's instructions). Glad that I didn't have to have it place for any longer.
I had some minor discomfort in the perineum @ the implant site, and some soreness inside my bottom for a few days. Was sent home with Flomax, Pyridium, Stool softeners, Steroid dose pack, Naproxen, and pain meds (which I only used a couple of.)/
Everything was rocking along pretty well until the 2 week mark, when I noticed a very decreased and weak stream (more like dribbles), and burning urination (I beleive the buring was from pressure backing up from not being able to urinate as quickly). I called the urologist who increased my Flomax to 2 capsules daily, and that seems to help.
I've also been passing a few small blood clots with stools, so far nothing major...but am keeping an eye on that.
Looking forward to my 1st PSA test to see how the treatment is working. My PSA was 4.07 at time of referral, but had dropped to 3.7 prior to the procedure.

Posts: 13
Joined: Oct 2011

Disagnosed on Oct 18th, 2011, with 2 core of 12 positive with Gleason 8s--not the best news, but after a whole lot of reading and questioning, I went with seed, followed up with IMRT.
Had 52 Iodine seeds implanted on Dec. 14th. From start to finnish, my time as an out patient was no more than 5 hours. Came out of the surgery without a catheter, the first pee in the hospital burned with a tinge of blood. By that evening, no more blood in the urine and no more burning. Slept pretty well the first night but was up more than usual.

It has almost been 2 months since the seed implants. I definitely have a slowed urinary flow and at time a little incresed urgency. Neither of these issues are really a big deal. I have adapted and can tell you that life is good.

I will start IMRT on Feb 13th for 5 weeks, five days per week, 25 sessions. Have never been on Flomax or any pain pills for this whole thing.

Brachytherapy, for me, has been a cake-walk--truly. I am 70 years old with very little ED issues and no urinary leakage. I am thankful!

Posts: 48
Joined: May 2011

I had the seed implant in 2005. I read the replies to your question and I must be the only guy that had major problems. It appears that to many seeds were inserted and as one doctor said -everything turned to mush. The results of this was I had to have my urethea closed off and my appendix used to connect my bladder to a stoma on my belly. A foley catheter is maintained there and I drain into a leg bag. The catheter has to changed monthly. The PC has spread to my lympthh nodes and today I just had my 25th Chemo treatment over a three year period.
Whose to blame? The urologist that recommended this stuff literally went off his rockers and lost his license. The Doc who inserted the seeds claims he did nothing wrong and see his lawyer. So thats life and you go on!!!

Kongo's picture
Posts: 1166
Joined: Mar 2010


So sorry that you've had such a rough time. Any doctor that would phrase what happened to you as "everything turned to mush" deserves to lose his license, in my opinion. I do hope you eventually gain some satisfaction from this group that seems to be trying to wassh their hands of you.

Hoping that your chemo works.

All the best,


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