Local News

Treatment For Prostate Cancer Does Not Involve Surgery

Posted April 5, 2006

— Researchers say one out of six men have a chance of getting prostate cancer in their lifetimes. The disease accounts for about 30 percent of cancer deaths in men. Now, there is news of an effective treatment option that doesn't involve surgery.

Carl Owens has prostate cancer. He had three options -- surgery to remove the prostate, brachytherapy with low-dose radioactive seeds implanted permanently in the prostate gland or high-dose brachytherapy where the seeds stay in the prostate for only a few seconds. The high-dose brachytherapy is offered at Moore Regional Hospital.

"We're able to give a high concentrated dose of radiation, which translates into higher cure rates for prostate cancer," said oncologist Dr. Stephen King.

King and urologist Dr. Rodney Lenahan attach a template to the patient's bottom. An ultrasound image helps them guide 17 needles through the skin and into the prostate gland.

"Once those needles are in a satisfactory position, we're going to switch them out for the plastic needles," King said.

Radioactive seeds enter the prostate through the plastic needles. Tubes connect the hollow plastic needles to a computer-controlled radiation source. Thin wires with a radioactive tip go down into the prostate, then are removed. King controls the exposure just to the cancer in the prostate, meaning fewer side effects.

It is an outpatient procedure followed by five weeks of external radiation. John Harding and Henry Jackson chose the procedure as their best chance to beat prostate cancer and continue their active lives.

"I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I've always been a very active person, sports and so on. I'm just amazed, thrilled," Harding said.

Jackson's heart problems made surgery too great of a risk. The high-dose brachytherapy worked.

"I haven't had any bad results whatsoever. Everything works fine," he said.

Owens said his procedure went well, so he expects to enjoy the same quick recovery and return to an active life.


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