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Radiation therapy is a treatment to destroy cancer cells or shrink tumours. One type of radiation therapy is brachytherapy (say "bray-kee-THAIR-uh-pee"). It puts the radiation source into your body, either inside the tumour or next to it.
Brachytherapy may be used to treat prostate cancer. You may have had:
This uses radiation sealed inside tiny containers, such as seeds or tubes. These implants have a low amount of radiation that gets weaker with time. The implants may be left in place for a few days or permanently.
This puts a high dose of radiation close to the tumour for a few minutes at a time. Then it is removed. The treatments may be repeated over several days or weeks. The radioactive pellets or seeds can be put into the body in several ways. One way is through short tubes (catheters). The tubes are put into place before the first treatment. Then they're removed after the last treatment.
Side effects from the radiation treatment may include:
The area where you had radiation may be sore for a while. You may also have some swelling. It's normal to have some blood in your semen.
Most side effects go away after treatment ends. But you may feel very tired for 4 to 6 weeks after your last treatment. Tell your doctor if you have problems with a specific side effect.
If you have high-dose rate treatments, you may need to stay in the hospital until your treatments are finished.
Your doctor will tell you if you need to keep children and pregnant women at a distance for any amount of time because of the radiation you were given.
Your doctor may give you instructions on when you can do your normal activities again, such as driving and going back to work.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Current as of: December 19, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Howard Schaff MD - Diagnostic Radiology & Thomas M. Bailey MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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