What is it?

Seed brachytherapy is where small radioactive seeds are placed permanently into the prostate to administer the radiation. “Seeds” are tiny (0.8×4.5mm) sealed titanium capsules containing radioactive iodine-125.

The seeds are biologically inert (that is, they do not cause any allergic, inflammatory, or immune reaction in the body), and chemically inactive.  When these tiny seeds are placed directly inside a tumour, they can give off a high dose of radiation in the form of gamma rays as the iodine-125 undergoes the normal and predictable radioactive decay.

Although the radiation dose in total can be very high, the rate at which the radiation is emitted is low, so seed implants are sometimes called “low dose rate” (LDR) brachytherapy. The radiation is given directly into the tumour, with minimal amounts affecting the surrounding normal tissues. This allows very high doses of radiation to be administered, without causing too much “collateral damage”, leading to very high cure rates.

The legislature approved the test the year before as part of an education reform plan

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