When I go home will I be radioactive?
The seeds that will be used for your implant are made from low energy radioactive material in capsules. The radiation decreases in strength over time. Most of the radiation is contained inside the prostate gland and a small amount is given to the nearby areas such as the rectum and bladder. Objects that you touch or come in contact with DO NOT become radioactive. Your bodily wastes, (urine and faeces) are NOT radioactive.
What Radiation precautions do I need to take?
In the first four months after your seeds have been implanted, pregnant or possibly pregnant women should avoid prolonged close contact (within 1 metre of your pelvis). There is no problem with short brief contact i.e. greeting hug or kiss etc. Children and small pets should avoid sitting in your lap in this period as well.
Will I lose my hair?
Brachytherapy seed implants will not cause you to lose any hair as the treatment is confined to the prostate area.
Will the treatment affect my sex life?
While it is still safe for you to have sexual intercourse during your radiotherapy, the desire to have sex may decrease because you may become tired, anxious or unwell. It may help to discuss your worries with your partner and/or your radiation oncologist or nurse. A referral to a sexual counsellor may also assist.
Do I still need to use contraception?
Yes, you should use contraception during and after radiotherapy. Some cancer treatments can cause damage to sperm, which may lead to birth abnormalities or complications. Ask your doctor or nurse about what type of contraception you should use and for how long.
Will this treatment affect my fertility?
Some cancer treatments can reduce your fertility. This can make it difficult or impossible to father a child. Talk to your doctor or nurse before you start any treatment. Depending on your situation there may be fertility sparing options available to you, discuss these with your doctor or nurse. See our patient information sheets – Fertility for men during cancer treatment.
Should I be on a special diet while having treatment?
You may be asked to go on a special diet before your brachytherapy. You will be given instructions by your treating department. You can resume your regular eating habits after your implant and it is important to keep your bowel movements regular by eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of fluids.
Can I drive during treatment?
If you have received a general anaesthetic for your treatment, you are not allowed to drive for 24 hours. Please ensure you have someone to drive you home and discuss any concerns with your radiation oncologist.
Can I have a flu or tetanus vaccination?
It is usually safe to have vaccinations such as flu and tetanus while you are having treatment. If you are due for vaccinations talk to your radiation oncologist about the best time to have them.
Is it safe to take vitamin tablets and herbal medicines?
Before starting any medication which includes prescription, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and alternative, natural or herbal medicines tell your doctor, radiation therapist or nurse. Some medications may interact with your treatment.
Can I resume normal activity after the procedure?
Avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity for the first two weeks following your treatment. Following this, you may return to your normal activities. Occasionally, vigorous activity may cause some blood in the urine. If you experience this and it continues for more than a few days, tell your doctor.
Who can I talk to if I am not coping?
You may feel anxious or depressed during and after the treatment process. Let your treating team know and they will arrange for you to talk to someone. You can also call the Cancer Council 13 11 20 for more cancer information and support.
How do you know if the treatment is successful?
It is not possible to know if your treatment has been successful immediately after you finish treatment. Your doctor will see you during and after your treatment and will discuss your progress.
What is the follow up?
You will need to have regular follow up appointments as advised by your radiation oncologist.