Side Effects

Generally speaking, seed implants are a simple, relatively non-invasive day procedure, causing little disruption for men.  Most men have only minor problems after a seed implant, and when compared to other curative treatments for prostate cancer, seed implants are much less likely to cause some serious side effects.

Immediately following the procedure, there is usually only minor discomfort between the legs.  It is normal to feel tired after the treatment.

Short Term Side Effects

Short term side effects are at their worst at between one and three months after the implant, and then improve.  These side effects are caused by the effect of the radiation as it is given off by the seeds.  The radiation inflames the urethra which can cause discomfort with urination.  The prostate can also swell with the radiation dose, causing the urine flow to slow down.  It can also cause the sensation of wanting to pass urine frequently, and in a hurry.

Long Term Side Effects

Long term urinary problems are not common after seed brachytherapy and are less of a problem than after, for example, a radical prostatectomy operation, but they are possible.  The most common (but still uncommon overall) are strictures and irritable baldders.

 Urinary

Strictures are narrowings in the urethra, like constrictions in a pipe.  They are caused by scar tissue around the urethra pulling in the side of the urethra and narrowing it.  Most brachytherapy related strictures can be helped by simple stretching, which may need to be repeated to keep things open.  Most strictures will settle down and not need repeated procedures.

 Irritable bladder

The radiation can make the  bladder abnormally sensitive to filling, and this can result in a small number of men needing to pass urine frequently and in a hurry.

Bowel

Long-term bowel problems after a seed implant are very infrequent, but are possible and include an increase in the frequency and the urgency of the bowel motions.

Sexual Function

Long-term sexual problems, termed “erectile dysfunction” do occur after a seed implant, although not as commonly as after surgery.  Men may notice that their erections are not quite as reliable as they were prior to the seed implant and about one third of men who had “good” erections prior to the seed implant will notice they have problems within two or three years.

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  • Jack from rye
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  • Director | Radiation Oncology cancer treatment prostate brachytherapy mac seed peter melbourne
  • Jeremy Millar
  • Director | Radiation Oncology