Epworth HealthCare, has partnered with Icon Cancer Centre, in a study to support a new precision prostate cancer treatment, that aims to reduce side effects to preserve the quality of life of patients.

For many men, prostate cancer treatment involves significant side effects including urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction, along with the emotional distress a cancer diagnosis and treatment can cause.

Focal brachytherapy is a highly-targeted technique, involving the implantation of small radioactive seeds directly into the cancerous area of the prostate to destroy the cancer, over a short period of time. Unlike traditional brachytherapy, the seeds are placed into the tumour rather than the whole prostate, preserving the rest of the prostate gland and limiting side effects.

The ICON Cancer Centre has launched the LIBERATE clinical registry in partnership with Epworth.

Over the next five years, the registry will monitor men who have undergone focal brachytherapy for low to intermediate risk prostate cancer at Icon Cancer Centres at Epworth Richmond and Epworth Freemasons. The study will determine the effects of treatment on long term quality of life and rates of cancer control.

Epworth Healthcare Urologist Associate Professor Jeremy Grummet says the cutting-edge treatment has been made possible due to continued advances in diagnostic imaging technology.

“Whole gland seed brachytherapy has been available for over 40 years and is supported by a considerable body of evidence attesting to its long term-safety and efficacy. But now, with the quality of our imaging equipment, we can pinpoint the exact location of the tumour and directly administer radioactive seeds into the tumour, further reducing the impact this treatment has on erectile, bladder and bowel function,” A/Prof Grummet said.

Focal brachytherapy is a minimally invasive procedure which requires a single day surgery. Icon Cancer Centre Radiation Oncologist Dr Andrew See says the advanced treatment helps men quickly return to normal life, without additional side effects, while actively fighting the cancerous cells for up to three months after the surgical treatment.

“The brilliant thing about this treatment is men walk out of the clinic a few hours later, and return to normal life, but the effect continues for up to 100 days. With over 20 years’ experience in brachytherapy treatment for prostate cancer, I am pleased to now see men face fewer side effects thanks to focal brachytherapy,” Dr See said.

“It is critical we continue to provide treatments that benefit all patients and develop trials that build robust evidence for best practice. We hope this study will provide thousands of men living with an early prostate cancer diagnosis hope they can maintain a good quality of life, even through treatment.”


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