LewisGale Hospital Pulaski First Southwest Virginia Hospital to Offer HDR Prostate Brachytherapy

From LewisGale Hospital Regional Health System

Sarah Cannon Institute at LewisGale Hospital Pulaski is the first and only local hospital in southwest Virginia to offer high-dose rate (HDR) prostate brachytherapy, a more convenient and precise form of radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer.

HDR brachytherapy is a type of internal radiation therapy that enables doctors to deliver higher doses of radiation to specific areas of the body, by temporarily placing radioactive sources inside the tumor cavity.

John Rogers, MD, radiation oncologist, performed the first HDR prostate brachytherapy treatments using real-time, CT-based planning at the facility.

“This technology administers treatment faster, often with just two treatment sessions spaced about two weeks apart,” stated Dr. Rogers. “The radiation source is completely removed after each treatment and doesn’t remain inside the body in between treatments.”

HDR prostate brachytherapy is a minimally-invasive procedure that allows patients to undergo just one or two outpatient treatments, rather than weeks of daily treatments, as has been traditionally done. The radioactive source is directed through small catheters that are inserted into the body and guided by computer to the tumor, or target area, where it delivers precise radiation treatment. The radiation is delivered in minutes and then removed from the patient’s body.

The effectiveness of HDR brachytherapy in treating prostate cancer is comparable to traditional external beam radiation treatments, but with reduced side effects and lower risk of damage to nearby tissue and organs.

“We are the only facility in Southwest Virginia that offers HDR prostate brachytherapy for men with prostate cancer,” stated Sean Pressman, chief executive officer. “This marks another major milestone for our comprehensive cancer program and demonstrates our commitment to caring for, and improving, the overall health of our patients who live in in Southwest Virginia.”