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Published on March 17, 2014

Brachytherapy

March 17, 2014

Two KishHealth System physicians with expertise in brachytherapy have brought this low dose radiation treatment to Kishwaukee Hospital, providing another option for prostate cancer patients. Kish is one of a few sites for prostate brachytherapy outside of Chicago.

Edmund Mueller of Somonauk was an ideal candidate for the outpatient procedure. He was diagnosed and screened for the treatment by his urologist, Dr. Azeem Haleem of KishHealth Physician Group, Sandwich. 

Dr. Haleem is collaborating with Radiation Oncologist Amit Bhate of the KishHealth System Cancer Center in DeKalb. This team approach is very typical. 

“A urologist does the initial screening. The radiation oncologist plans where to place the radioactive seeds so they are the most effective and safe. In the operating room we are both there, placing the seeds, providing two different perspectives. It’s a full team effort,” Dr. Bhate said.

Dr. Haleem said Mueller was a good candidate for brachytherapy because he had a relatively low PSA, and the tumor in his prostate was low volume.

“He would have done well with any treatment, so why not choose the one that has the least side effects and avoids surgery,” Dr. Haleem said.

To assure the best outcomes, the doctors have set criteria for their prostate brachytherapy patients. They must have:

  • PSA blood test of  less than 10;
  • A Gleason score of less than 7, which measures how aggressive the tumor is;  and
  • An early stage tumor.

Age is another consideration, Dr. Bhate said. “The older a patient gets, the less likely he will have a problem with prostate cancer (if the above criteria are met).  If the odds are they will live for another 10 years or more, then treatment is appropriate.” 

Mueller, 73, who retired to rural Somonauk after working as a Hillside firefighter, said the only side effect from the procedure has been frequent urination, “a half dozen times every night, but that’s slowly disappearing. Dr. Bhate said it would take two to three months to get better.”

His options for treating his prostate cancer were watching it, removing the prostate, radiation or implanting seeds.

“Both doctors said (implanting the seeds) would likely get rid of it totally, so that’s what I chose,” he said.

“His case went beautifully,” said Dr. Bhate.

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