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My LDR Permanent Seed Brachytherapy Journey

User
Posted 12 Jul 2020 at 14:57

Hi, I have started a couple of conversations on the forum relating to symptoms and diagnosis but I am now in the treatment phase so I would like to document my journey with LDR Brachytherapy. There are a few conversations on the forum about Brachytherapy but I thought it would be helpful if I added my own so I intend to start this and update it regularly.


At diagnosis I was offered 3 treatments for my Prostrate Cancer, 1. Radiotherapy, 2. Surgery to remove the prostate or 3. Brachytherapy and after doing as much research as I could including several hours spent on this forum  I elected to go for the brachytherapy. I had my first consultation with my Oncologist on 7th April 20 and was immediately advised that due to Covid 19 Brachytherapy was not available, the Oncologist felt I had time to make my decision so I was deferred until 9th July 20. In mid May I  heard that treatments were starting again and I made contact with my Oncologist and on 24th June 20 I had my Volume test to ensure that I was suitable for Brachytherapy which I was, by the way this involved a catheter and an ultra sound probe in the back passage which were only slightly uncomfortable and the whole thing was over in 10 mins. I am now booked in to have for LDR permanent seed Brachytherapy on Wednesday 22nd July 20.


Updates will follow.

User
Posted 13 Jul 2020 at 22:41

I'm glad you've opted for a less aggressive treatment than surgery. There seems to be a strong psychological urge in many people to "cut it out", for me the only treatment plan offered was HDR Brachy, though I was also tempted by the apparent certainty of "cut it out".


There's no certainty for any of us with PCa, but apparently all the treatments one is offered have roughly equivalent outcomes; so reducing side effects should be very high in the decision process. 

Dave

User
Posted 25 Aug 2020 at 23:14

Just me being pedantic. It is not "low dose" it is "low dose rate" conversely HDR is "high dose rate". My HDR was 15gy but the rate it was delivered was about 1gy per minute, LDR is 70gy so a higher dose but delivered over about two months or about 1gy per day. So the rate that it is released in to your body is about 1500 time higher for HDR.


Good job I spotted this before andy62 or Lyn. You would have got a proper ticking off from them. 

Edited by member 26 Aug 2020 at 14:34  | Reason: Poor maths

Dave

User
Posted 25 Aug 2020 at 23:24
😂
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard
User
Posted 13 Jul 2020 at 09:51
Best wishes for a successful outcome DRAMCF. Will follow your progress with interest.
Regards Tom
User
Posted 13 Jul 2020 at 15:48

Hi i took the Brachytherapy route in September 2016 with a Psa 2.19 Gleason 3+4=7 and 5 cores out of 20 Positive. Psa has dropped gradually over the last 46 months to 0.18 in December 2019.Like Tom there are not many members on here to compare results with and any long term problems that may return in the future.


I was not sure  at the time of diagnosis what options would be better for me at the age of 70 so i tried to read up as much as possible from members on this site but it was a friend that helped me decide as he had gone for Brachytherapy two years earlier and was doing well.If i can help with any other question please ask.


Regards John.

User
Posted 23 Jul 2020 at 19:45

Glad it seems to have gone well. I was interested in permanent seed brachy, but my MDT said it wasn't an option for me due to volume. I'm still interested to see how it goes with you though. Hope it sorts you out.


Did you have to have hormones as well or not?

_____


Two cannibals named Ectomy and Prost, all alone on a Desert island.


Prost was the strongest, so Prost ate Ectomy.

User
Posted 24 Jul 2020 at 07:09

Hi this sounds very much like my procedure back in 2016 at Mount Vernon.I am four years on in September with a PSA blood test due in December.I have been very lucky so far and wish you well going forward .


 


Regards John.

User
Posted 30 Jul 2020 at 09:46
Many thanks for posting your experiences. I'm starting RT in Oct followed by Brachy in Dec (I've opted for HDR over LDR but final choice will be based on them setting up the new HDR unit). So all of your notes have been useful in setting my expectations.
User
Posted 06 Aug 2020 at 11:31

Great to hear your Brachytherapy went well and the after affects are reasonable.please keep us updated.


Regards John.

User
Posted 07 Aug 2020 at 13:08
Glad to hear your recovery is progressing smoothly. Good luck for the rest of your journey.
Regards Tom
User
Posted 25 Aug 2020 at 20:44
I had permanent seed brachytherapy and so far your experience is much the same as mine. I puzzle a bit why it is called "Low Dose" because the total radiation dose is much the same as HDR, just delivered more slowly. In my case 70 GYs (Grays Units).
I hope you are lucky and don't get many side effects, however bowels and bladder can suffer from the radiation. I had both, the good news is that it does clear up with time.

John

Gleason 6 = 3+3 PSA 8.8 P. volume 48 cc Left Cores 3/3, Volume = 20% PSA 10.8 Feb '19 PSA 1.2


Jan '20 PSA 0.3 July '20 0.1 Jan. 21 < 0.1

User
Posted 17 Sep 2020 at 13:14

Great news. May long it continue. Hope you have a good weekend and can enjoy the lovely weather.


TG

User
Posted 18 Sep 2020 at 14:13

Hi glad to see you are winning but surprised you only had six weeks of Tamulosen i was taking them for six months and could have continued if i wanted but decided i was happy to stop them at six months with the agreement of my doctor.


Good luck John.

User
Posted 18 Sep 2020 at 16:54

Thanks John,


I discussed this with my oncologist and he said to keep taking them as long as I needed but he did suggest in a months time to try and go down to one every 2 days but he did say to always make sure I had access to some tablets, did you have any side effects with the Tamsulosin?

User
Posted 19 Sep 2020 at 07:54
I was taking Tamulosin for over 10 years due to my enlarged prostate. I'm pretty sure it had no side effects.
User
Posted 02 Dec 2020 at 07:58

Hi David,


Welcome to the Brachytherapy Club and glad to hear it's going well with your recovery and PSA dropping.I got my yearly blood test out the way before Christmas and my PSA is 0.08 after 4 years so happy with the result.


Regards John.

User
Posted 15 Dec 2020 at 22:05

Hi Phillip,


Good luck with your treatment with brachytherapy we all had to make a choice on procedures and i found it difficult at the beginning but so far so good and i think i had more worries about the side affects in my decisions to go towards Brachytherapy as the main push was towards Robotic surgery at most Gleason levels.


I think when you get to 70 and are told you have cancer in any part of your body it makes you sit up a bit.But at my age the average life expectancy is about 83, and my dad died at 80 after having cancer at 50 being a heavy smoker but he did not die from the original cancer or prostate cancer.


So let's support our friends on here and give them comfort even if we can't change the end result.


Regards John.


 

Edited by member 15 Dec 2020 at 22:07  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 16 Dec 2020 at 09:01

Hi Philip, glad you found the post useful, I was diagnosed back in Feb 20 and it was reading informative posts like John’s which helped me make my decision to go with Brachytherapy. I hope your experience is as positive as mine has been so far and all the best for the future

User
Posted 18 Dec 2020 at 13:47

Hi Philip... Welcome to the club and good luck for a successful outcome for your treatment. Please keep your follow LDR Brachyteers informed of your progress


Regards Tom 

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User
Posted 13 Jul 2020 at 09:51
Best wishes for a successful outcome DRAMCF. Will follow your progress with interest.
Regards Tom
User
Posted 13 Jul 2020 at 15:48

Hi i took the Brachytherapy route in September 2016 with a Psa 2.19 Gleason 3+4=7 and 5 cores out of 20 Positive. Psa has dropped gradually over the last 46 months to 0.18 in December 2019.Like Tom there are not many members on here to compare results with and any long term problems that may return in the future.


I was not sure  at the time of diagnosis what options would be better for me at the age of 70 so i tried to read up as much as possible from members on this site but it was a friend that helped me decide as he had gone for Brachytherapy two years earlier and was doing well.If i can help with any other question please ask.


Regards John.

User
Posted 13 Jul 2020 at 22:41

I'm glad you've opted for a less aggressive treatment than surgery. There seems to be a strong psychological urge in many people to "cut it out", for me the only treatment plan offered was HDR Brachy, though I was also tempted by the apparent certainty of "cut it out".


There's no certainty for any of us with PCa, but apparently all the treatments one is offered have roughly equivalent outcomes; so reducing side effects should be very high in the decision process. 

Dave

User
Posted 23 Jul 2020 at 16:08

Treatment took place yesterday in the Cancer Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, admitted at 07:30 and the usual preps took place including the enema, I was taken to theatre at 10:30 and had an epidural administered along with a sedative to relax you to the extent that you can’t really remember the procedure , the Consultant told me that since returning after the Covid 19 outbreak they had started using Epidural rather than full anaesthetic. The actual brachytherapy procedure took about 40 mins and when finished I was returned to the recovery ward with catheter still in place then after 1/2 hour there I was returned to my single bed ward and given tea and toast and monitored until the epidural wore off. When the nurse was satisfied that I had fully recovered from the epidural the catheter was then removed and when I could walk I pass urine I was allowed to go home at 4:30 pm with some antibiotics, laxatives, pain killers and Tamsulosin ( medication to help me pee ). Spoke to the Consultant again before I left and he was very happy with how things had gone, 72 seeds ( on strings) administered. 


I had some pain where the needles went in and where the epidural was administered, some discomfort when passing urine and the ultrasound does play havoc with your haemorrhoids. 


Went to bed and slept fairly well and only up twice to go to the toilet , some discomfort while passing urine but not too bad, some pain as well but took pain killers on my second visit to the toilet.


Feeling a big groggy today, some pain and some discomfort but everything appears to be working ok so far and now I have to trust in my radioactive seeds to do their job.

User
Posted 23 Jul 2020 at 19:45

Glad it seems to have gone well. I was interested in permanent seed brachy, but my MDT said it wasn't an option for me due to volume. I'm still interested to see how it goes with you though. Hope it sorts you out.


Did you have to have hormones as well or not?

_____


Two cannibals named Ectomy and Prost, all alone on a Desert island.


Prost was the strongest, so Prost ate Ectomy.

User
Posted 23 Jul 2020 at 19:50

No it’s just straight forward Brachytherapy.

User
Posted 24 Jul 2020 at 07:09

Hi this sounds very much like my procedure back in 2016 at Mount Vernon.I am four years on in September with a PSA blood test due in December.I have been very lucky so far and wish you well going forward .


 


Regards John.

User
Posted 26 Jul 2020 at 14:31

It’s now day 4 after my LDR Brachytherapy and things are going better than I expected, I am urinating a lot more but part of that is probably down to the amount of water that I am drinking, my bowels are working as normal and I am only slightly tender where the needles were inserted, I did have some discomfort at the site where the epidural was administered but that is more or less gone, I am a bit more tired than usual but I am up 2/3 times a night going to the toilet so that may be part of the reason.


This morning the weather was lovely so I actually went and played 13 holes on the golf course with a couple of mates.


I find much of the mental stress I was experiencing has gone with me receiving my treatment, having had my treatment delayed by Covid had really taken its toll on me, I now feel a real sense of positivity and that I am getting somewhere!

User
Posted 29 Jul 2020 at 20:10

1 week on from Brachytherapy procedure, some light discomfort at the needle site but other than that everything is good, I have been very tired but I think this is partly due to having to get up 3 or 4 times at night to go to the toilet. Yesterday I had my last glass of water at 6pm and I only had to get up once last night to go to the toilet and feeling a lot better today. Finished my 5 day course of antibiotics and now I am on one table a day which helps to keep  my waterworks flowing.


i think the biggest change is mentally, I have a great sense of relief at finally getting my treatment as it had been delayed by COVID 19 and now I have to leave my 72 radioactive seeds to do their job🤞


 

User
Posted 30 Jul 2020 at 09:46
Many thanks for posting your experiences. I'm starting RT in Oct followed by Brachy in Dec (I've opted for HDR over LDR but final choice will be based on them setting up the new HDR unit). So all of your notes have been useful in setting my expectations.
User
Posted 05 Aug 2020 at 20:45

2 weeks since my Brachytherapy, the few side effects that I have had are reducing as the days go by, I have still some slight discomfort urinating and up 2 or 3 times a night to go to the toilet ,I get tired but other than that I am feeling well , as far as ED goes I think it is too soon to say but I am hopeful that it will not be a problem, I have been out playing Golf and went on an hours journey to my daughters house, I did Not have any issues with needing to rush  to a toilet and I haven’t had any issues with incontinence. I have my first review on the 11 th September 2020.

User
Posted 06 Aug 2020 at 11:31

Great to hear your Brachytherapy went well and the after affects are reasonable.please keep us updated.


Regards John.

User
Posted 07 Aug 2020 at 13:08
Glad to hear your recovery is progressing smoothly. Good luck for the rest of your journey.
Regards Tom
User
Posted 20 Aug 2020 at 16:18

4 weeks on from my treatment and all appears to be going well, I am still up 3 or 4 times per night and I do feel tired a lot of the time but I guess that’s down to the broken sleep,
 Along with the treatment,  I am taking a few days to rest up and try and recharge the batteries and see how I get on, have my first post treatment meeting with my oncologist on 11th September.

User
Posted 25 Aug 2020 at 20:44
I had permanent seed brachytherapy and so far your experience is much the same as mine. I puzzle a bit why it is called "Low Dose" because the total radiation dose is much the same as HDR, just delivered more slowly. In my case 70 GYs (Grays Units).
I hope you are lucky and don't get many side effects, however bowels and bladder can suffer from the radiation. I had both, the good news is that it does clear up with time.

John

Gleason 6 = 3+3 PSA 8.8 P. volume 48 cc Left Cores 3/3, Volume = 20% PSA 10.8 Feb '19 PSA 1.2


Jan '20 PSA 0.3 July '20 0.1 Jan. 21 < 0.1

User
Posted 25 Aug 2020 at 23:14

Just me being pedantic. It is not "low dose" it is "low dose rate" conversely HDR is "high dose rate". My HDR was 15gy but the rate it was delivered was about 1gy per minute, LDR is 70gy so a higher dose but delivered over about two months or about 1gy per day. So the rate that it is released in to your body is about 1500 time higher for HDR.


Good job I spotted this before andy62 or Lyn. You would have got a proper ticking off from them. 

Edited by member 26 Aug 2020 at 14:34  | Reason: Poor maths

Dave

User
Posted 25 Aug 2020 at 23:24
😂
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard
User
Posted 26 Aug 2020 at 19:43

Originally Posted by: Online Community Member


Just me being pedantic. It is not "low dose" it is "low dose rate" conversely HDR is "high dose rate". My HDR was 15gy but the rate it was delivered was about 1gy per minute, LDR is 70gy so a higher dose but delivered over about two months or about 1gy per day. So the rate that it is released in to your body is about 1500 time higher for HDR.


Good job I spotted this before andy62 or Lyn. You would have got a proper ticking off from them. 



Thanks Dave, I admit to an error in my description, yours is much more correct. I live in abject fear of a ticking off by Lyn as do all of us. Spared this time though :-) 


John

Gleason 6 = 3+3 PSA 8.8 P. volume 48 cc Left Cores 3/3, Volume = 20% PSA 10.8 Feb '19 PSA 1.2


Jan '20 PSA 0.3 July '20 0.1 Jan. 21 < 0.1

User
Posted 26 Aug 2020 at 21:08
I am getting rough treatment here ... can I just say that I had read the post and didn't even notice the error!

If you think I am scary here, spare a thought for the two headteachers that I have just investigated - now both ex-head teachers 🤦🏼‍♀️
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard
User
Posted 26 Aug 2020 at 22:33

Originally Posted by: Online Community Member
If you think I am scary here, spare a thought for the two headteachers that I have just investigated - now both ex-head teachers 🤦🏼‍♀️


Beheaded. 😬

_____


Two cannibals named Ectomy and Prost, all alone on a Desert island.


Prost was the strongest, so Prost ate Ectomy.

User
Posted 17 Sep 2020 at 12:36

8 weeks post Brachytherapy, met with my Consultant on Friday for my first post treatment consultation, had a CT scan prior to the meeting, he was very pleased with how with how the procedure had went and he spent sometime discussing side effects and what to expect going forward as in blood tests etc , what would happen if PSA wasn’t coming down, short, medium and long term.


As far as side effects go, I am still a bit tired but my biggest problem to date was coming off  Tamsulosin, I was given a six week course of medication and two days after it ended I could hardly pass urine and had to get more Tamsulosin off the out of hours doctor, all is fine now but it was a fairly uncomfortable 24/36 hours. Everything else appears ok, I don’t have any ED problems at present but I believe  in some men this can become a problem on down the line.


So all in all Brachytherapy has been ok so far just need to wait and see if the PSA comes down, only then will I know if the treatment has been successful.

User
Posted 17 Sep 2020 at 13:14

Great news. May long it continue. Hope you have a good weekend and can enjoy the lovely weather.


TG

User
Posted 18 Sep 2020 at 14:13

Hi glad to see you are winning but surprised you only had six weeks of Tamulosen i was taking them for six months and could have continued if i wanted but decided i was happy to stop them at six months with the agreement of my doctor.


Good luck John.

User
Posted 18 Sep 2020 at 16:54

Thanks John,


I discussed this with my oncologist and he said to keep taking them as long as I needed but he did suggest in a months time to try and go down to one every 2 days but he did say to always make sure I had access to some tablets, did you have any side effects with the Tamsulosin?

User
Posted 19 Sep 2020 at 07:54
I was taking Tamulosin for over 10 years due to my enlarged prostate. I'm pretty sure it had no side effects.
User
Posted 29 Sep 2020 at 20:01

10 Weeks on from treatment, still some side effects mainly tiredness and frequently going to the toilet at night and some pain sometimes in my penis when I am going to the toilet but I believe that as time goes on these will reduce.


First post treatment PSA reading was 2.97 which I am told is satisfactory.

User
Posted 01 Dec 2020 at 19:26

Follow up with my Consultant today by phone, had my bloods taken last Monday and was informed today that it had dropped to 1.27, I am now 4+months over my treatment and have very few side effects, but if fatigue from time to time but not as bad as it was, only up once or twice per night which is probably helping with the fatigue as well, I am still on Tamsulosin once a day, I have tried going off them Or reducing them but If I miss a day I start having difficulty going to the toilet so will stay on them for the time being. Have headaches in the morning sometimes but this nay be a side effect of the Tamsulosin, no bowel issues either.ED hasn’t been a problem so far but it’s a bit strange the non ejaculation but thats one of the side effects of having your prostate blasted with 72 seeds of radiation.


So all in all so far I am satisfied that Brachytherapy was the best option for me, one of our contributors on here has launched a Brachytherapy UK support group and it met for the first time last week, it was really good to hear others who have had the treatment and their mainly positive stories.


if anyone is considering Brachytherapy and wants to talk about don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Regards


 


David

User
Posted 02 Dec 2020 at 07:58

Hi David,


Welcome to the Brachytherapy Club and glad to hear it's going well with your recovery and PSA dropping.I got my yearly blood test out the way before Christmas and my PSA is 0.08 after 4 years so happy with the result.


Regards John.

User
Posted 15 Dec 2020 at 20:00

First post but thank you for such a good account - I’m 10 days into LDR Brachytherapy and its good to read real life history. PSA 5.3 Gleason 3+4:7 so I’m hopefully looking forward to a first checkup and reducing PSA in January. Many thanks 🙏 

User
Posted 15 Dec 2020 at 22:05

Hi Phillip,


Good luck with your treatment with brachytherapy we all had to make a choice on procedures and i found it difficult at the beginning but so far so good and i think i had more worries about the side affects in my decisions to go towards Brachytherapy as the main push was towards Robotic surgery at most Gleason levels.


I think when you get to 70 and are told you have cancer in any part of your body it makes you sit up a bit.But at my age the average life expectancy is about 83, and my dad died at 80 after having cancer at 50 being a heavy smoker but he did not die from the original cancer or prostate cancer.


So let's support our friends on here and give them comfort even if we can't change the end result.


Regards John.


 

Edited by member 15 Dec 2020 at 22:07  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 16 Dec 2020 at 09:01

Hi Philip, glad you found the post useful, I was diagnosed back in Feb 20 and it was reading informative posts like John’s which helped me make my decision to go with Brachytherapy. I hope your experience is as positive as mine has been so far and all the best for the future

User
Posted 18 Dec 2020 at 13:47

Hi Philip... Welcome to the club and good luck for a successful outcome for your treatment. Please keep your follow LDR Brachyteers informed of your progress


Regards Tom 

 
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