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Patient Education: Diseases Conditions Treatments & Procedures

Prostate Seed Brachytherapy

Radiation Safety

Iodine-125 emits very low-energy radiation, which does not travel far. In fact, the vast majority of the radiation is stopped inside the prostate itself and only a tiny fraction escapes beyond the body. The amount that escapes is so small that it is not considered a risk for most people; nevertheless, small children and pregnant women may be more sensitive to the effects of radiation.

Some additional precautions we recommend for these people when around the patient during the first two months following the implant are as follows:

  •  Avoid prolonged close contact with young children during this time, e.g. child sleeping on your lap.
  •  Avoid sleeping with a woman who is pregnant

Although it is rare, an occasional seed may be lost via urination. If a seed is passed in this way, it almost always occurs within the first week following the implant procedure. If a seed is passed, it should be retrieved and returned to the Odette Cancer Centre for proper disposal. Due to possible passage of a seed, we ask you to strain your urine for the first week following the procedure so that any seed that is passed may be easily retrieved. The seed should then be picked up with a cotton swab or tweezers and placed in the packet provided. We ask that you return the packet to the clinic on your first follow up visit.

A seed may rarely be passed in the semen. For this reason, we ask that you use a condom during intercourse for the first two months. Although these precautions may seem elaborate, the amount of radiation exposure to the patient and those around him are really quite minimal and do not represent an additional risk.

Special precautions also need to be taken in the event of unexpected death within 12 months of the implant . As the seeds may still be radioactive, the cancer centre should be notified. This is particularly important if cremation was being
considered