(Radioactive Seed Implants / Brachytherapy)

Prostate cancer impacts one in 10 males, is the most commonly occurring cancer in males today and is the No. 2 cause of cancer-related deaths in men. Until recently, treatments included radical prostatectomy (complete, surgical removal of the prostate gland) and external-beam radiation therapy.

Because of his special training, Dr. Behar can offer prostate cancer patients a a third option -- radioactive seed implants -- that is proving to be equally as effective without many of the negative side effects associated with the other treatments. The patient can return to normal activities within days and the two traditionally negative side effects -- impotence and incontinence -- are decreased dramatically. Dr. Behar and a team of urologists have performed more than 500 prostate seed implants. Specially trained in Seattle, Dr. Behar was the first physician in Houston to perform ultrasound-guided palladium implants, and has the most experience in the Houston area with this procedure.

The seeds, which are smaller than grains of rice and emit controlled radiation for six to 12 months, are inserted into the prostate during an outpatient procedure that lasts for a few hours. The seeds deliver ten times more concentrated radiation to the prostate gland than occurs with external-beam radiation therapy.

In contrast, external-beam radiation therapy requires short treatment sessions once a day, five days a week, for eight to nine weeks, and causes temporary damage to adjoining tissues and other temporary side effects such as fatigue, skin reactions, painful urination, upset stomach, diarrhea and rectal bleeding. Because it requires major surgery, radical prostatectomy is not easily tolerated by older men who are not in excellent health.

In some cases, medical circumstances will require Dr. Behar to supplement radioactive seed implants with limited external-beam radiation therapy.

Recently, a 14-year study of 147 subjects who received seed implants has shown equivalent results when compared with radical surgery, and superior PSA control rates when compared to external-beam radiation therapy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

CAT scan of a prostate after radioactive seed implantation

Anterior radiograph showing a well-placed seed
Lateral view of same patient