For years, treatment for men with prostate cancer often resulted in incontinence or impotence and failed treatment results. High Dose Rate (HDR) Remote Afterloading Brachytherapy is a highly-effective outpatient alternative that minimizes these devastating side effects; significantly reduces treatment and recovery times and most importantly, minimizes recurrence of prostate cancer. Brachytherapy is the term for a radioactive source applied in or near a tumor.

Dr. Behar uses the Varisource High Dose Rate Remote Afterloading System developed by Varian Medical Systems, an international company. This system has been used extensively worldwide for more than a decade and exceeds the most stringent safety requirements. Because of his special medical background, Dr. Behar is the first physician in the Houston area to utilize High Dose Rate Remote Afterloading for prostate cancer.

Essentially, radioactive seeds attached to thin wires are strategically inserted into the prostate so as not to damage adjoining tissues while "smart bombing" cancerous cells with a precise dosage of radiation determined in advance by Dr. Behar. A number of hollow tubes are linked from the portable HDR machine to the prostate. These hollow catheters are inserted through the skin surface into the prostate gland. The HDR machine dispenses a radioactive source through each tube, then retrieves them -- with the whole procedure lasting only a few minutes. The number of HDR treatments will be determined in advance by Dr. Behar, but multiple treatments can be completed within 24 to 48 hours.

In contrast, radioactive seed implant treatments place seeds inside the prostate that remain and gradually lose their potency over time.

HDR Brachytherapy can be employed singularly or in combination with other treatment modalities such as external beam radiation. Studies at the Swedish Medical Center have shown that radioactive seeds that are inserted, then removed, in concert with external beam radiation have one of the lowest prostate cancer recurrence rates compared to surgery or external radiation alone (Fortune Magazine, May 13, 1996).

High Dose Rate Remote Afterloading continues to gain acceptance because of its many benefits, including:

A) No temporary or permanent damage to adjoining tissues and organs,
B) Decreased impotence, incontinence and urinary side effects,
C) No prolonged hospitalization,
D) No side effects such as nausea, hair loss or diarrhea,
E) No special dietary considerations or major pre-treatment preparations, and
F) Minimal recovery time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Varisource High Dose Remote Afterloading System delivers a radiation source stored in the machine to the patient's cancer location.