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University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center now offers leading-edge brachytherapy implant procedure for prostate cancer

Friday, January 17, 2014

Targeted internal radiation reduces recovery time and side effects

GEAUGA COUNTY – University Hospitals (UH) Geauga Medical Center recently began offering state-of-the-art treatment options to men with prostate cancer. For patients who are candidates, prostate brachytherapy and external beam radiotherapy provide less invasive alternatives to traditional prostatectomy, or surgical resection or removal of the prostate.

Garrettsville resident Michael Lingro, 47, was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma last July. “My prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level was climbing and a biopsy revealed early-stage prostate cancer,” says Lingro. His urologist, Zurab Davili, MD, jointly with UH Seidman Cancer Center radiation oncologist, Rodney J. Ellis, MD, offered three treatment options: Traditional surgery, external beam radiotherapy or brachytherapy. All three programs are available at UH Geauga Medical Center.

While the external approach is nonsurgical, that outpatient therapy would have required Lingro to come to UH Geauga Medical Center Monday through Friday for nine weeks. He elected to undergo brachytherapy, which is a single outpatient surgical procedure.

“Brachytherapy places small radioactive implants into the prostate with MRI guidance,” says Dr. Ellis, Director of Genito-Urinary Oncology, Brachytherapy and Advanced Image Guided Radiotherapy, UH Seidman Cancer Center. “The implants deliver higher doses of radiation to specific areas of the body compared to the external beam.” Also known as internal radiation, brachytherapy typically results in a shorter treatment time and fewer side effects.

Dr. Ellis, who alternately consults with patients and performs prostate procedures at UH Geauga Medical Center one day per week, also offers men with higher-risk prostate cancer a combination care plan of brachytherapy and external radiotherapy. “The combination approach usually involves five weeks of external beam therapy followed by a lower-dose implant procedure,” says Dr. Ellis.

Michael Lingro’s brachytherapy procedure took place on December 20 at UH Geauga Medical Center. “I was able to go home the same day as my surgery,” he says. “My down time was brief.” Lingro has a very physical job in the excavating industry, so he scheduled his procedure during the holidays in order to have extra time off to more fully recover.

Lingro was the first patient to have prostate brachytherapy at UH Geauga Medical Center. “This new program employs the same high-quality implants offered at UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland,” says Dr. Ellis. “During a procedure we see very sharp, functional MRI and ultrasound-fused images that show the actual behavior of the tissue. This gives us the clearest possible picture of where the cancer is located in the prostate.” Dr. Ellis is then able to precisely place the implants in order to give higher radiation doses to the tumor and limit doses to the healthy tissue.

“After I was diagnosed, I took time to learn the facts about brachytherapy and felt it was the best course of treatment for me,” says Lingro. “The procedure went exactly as Dr. Ellis said it would and everyone at UH Geauga Medical Center treated me well. I’m very happy.”

To learn more about the UH Seidman Cancer Center brachytherapy and external beam radiotherapy programs for prostate cancer now available at UH Geauga Medical Center, or to schedule a consultation, call 440-285-7757.

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