Seattle Prostate Institute

Appointments 206.386.2356

Treatment Options

About Seed Implantation


Having introduced the modern ultrasound guided technique of seed implantation in the mid 1980’s, we have been tracking the experience of our patients for over 15 years. This shows an overall 85.5% survival rate at 15 yrs for low risk patients, and an almost as favorable 80.3% survival in intermediate risk patients.  Together with similarly favorable long term results from other well established prostate brachytherapy centers, the experience of the SPI has clearly established radioactive seed implantation to be as effective, if not more effective, at controlling cancer as surgery and other conventional treatments.

In patients with intermediate and high-risk prostate cancer, published series have shown high-quality brachytherapy, often combined with external beam, to be superior to surgery.

One should note that these survival numbers are based on treatments over a decade ago. Not only has the technique been further refined since that time, but men presenting in the early 90’s generally had much more advanced cancers because PSA screening was not yet widespread. More modern outcome data are better than previous results.

For example patients treated from 1995-2001, published by Merrick and colleagues, showed relapse free survival of 98% for low risk patients and 98.4% for intermediate risk patients, and 88% for low risk patients. This is in line with our more recent results as well.  To date, there is no evidence that other treatments (surgery, cryotherapy, proton beam therapy, hormone therapy alone) have matched up to these results.

In conclusion

Uunlike many other cancers, there are a multitude of appropriate treatment options for prostate cancer. This leaves the patient with the ultimate task of making a difficult and often confusing choice. The most important predictor of successful treatment is finding the cancer confined to the prostate alone. Fortunately, because of the widespread use of the PSA test, many more patients are being found with this earliest stage of prostate cancer.

When diagnosed with prostate cancer, men should work closely with an experienced physician to select the treatment that they are most comfortable with and they should not hesitate to seek a second, or even third, opinion to help reach a decision.

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