Brachytherapy has been used to treat prostate cancer for many years and involves the insertion of small radioactive seeds into the prostate, which deliver radiation over a period of time.
Focal brachytherapy uses the same technique, however offers even greater precision by placing the radioactive source into the tumour itself rather than the whole prostate, preserving the rest of the prostate gland.
Focal brachytherapy treatment has been made possible thanks to advances in imaging technologies, which allows doctors to visualise and treat only the diseased area of the prostate. It is delivered by a multidisciplinary care team, including a urologic surgeon, radiation oncologist, radiologist and pathologist.
In the past there have been many examples where precision treatments have revolutionised cancer care, such as lumpectomy for early breast cancer compared to radical mastectomy (removal of the entire breast).
Focal brachytherapy offers the same precision for men with prostate cancer, sparing the remaining prostate gland and avoiding the difficult side effects that are common with traditional treatment options such erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence and bowel urgency. Through this minimally invasive procedure men with prostate cancer can return to normal life quickly, while their treatment continues to actively fight cancer cells for up to 100 days post-surgery.