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BXTAccelyon by Attributed To Avni Mawdia, Customer.. - 6d ago
The customer services team at BXTAccelyon has gone from strength to strength over the last 12 months. Recent contract wins have increased demand for the service that currently operates in 13 countries internationally. The highly knowledgeable team of four provide an exemplary service for our customers that goes way beyond what you’d expect from the average customer service team.
The team, Avni, Katrin, Lucy and Mark, are seasoned customer service professionals. They have a thorough understanding of both PrecisionPoint™, a device that bypasses the need for the risky transrectal prostate cancer biopsy that many UK Trusts are phasing out, and LDR Brachytherapy, a permanent radiotherapy seed implant treatment for prostate cancer which is considered a less invasive alternative to radical prostatectomy. The team does everything in their power to provide the best possible service and are always conscious of the importance of what they do. After all, ensuring a patient has LDR-B treatment on time could save their life.
Customer service at BXTAccelyon has an impressive success rate. Since 2013, the team’s processes have been ISO accredited, they have achieved excellence in internal audits over the last 12 months and achieved an industry leading standard in delivery success for the rapidly growing implant procedure orders they process.
The team pride themselves on their proactive approach. Handling everything from the initial order placement through to follow-up care, the team make the transition for new customers as smooth as possible by providing an easy setup and a straight forward ordering process. They put together an action plan for each individual new centre and introduce themselves as the point of contact for each. To prepare the hospital for its first order, a pack is put together with order forms and activity charts to show hospitals how the order process works, delivery protocols, and dummy orders to show what to expect and how things will be packaged. For Brachytherapy customers the team also carries out a live seed order to test the route.
Hands-on training is provided for hospital clinical teams through a personalised website, WebBXT, allowing centres to process orders online themselves. The team also meets with each partner to go through manual orders and practice the process. In addition, the team pays close attention to orders to ensure that the process is smooth, the couriers know where to deliver and the hospital teams know who the key contacts are.
When a potential issue arises the team is ready to leap into action. On one occasion, a member of the team worked around the clock to ensure that a replacement order arrived on time for a patient’s Brachytherapy treatment after there was a problem with the initial order from the supplier in North America. With just two days until the treatment was booked to take place, it was crucial to make sure the replacement order arrived on time and that everyone involved in getting the order to the hospital (including the airlines, couriers and transportation services) knew how important the package was. The order was delivered with just two hours to spare and the patient was able to get his treatment on time.
The team also have impressive multi-lingual language skills. This has proved useful as international demand for both LDR-B and PrecisionPoint has increased. While demand for PrecisionPoint has increased exponentially over the past 12 months, Brachytherapy continues to be the source of most the of team’s work.
We are proud of the team’s development in the last 12 months. They form a core part of our growth, both in the UK and internationally, and will undoubtedly go from strength to strength as demand for our products and service worldwide continues to grow.
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BXTAccelyon has responded to an article on the Daily Mail that claims that a ten-minute shot of High Dose-Rate (HDR) radiation treatment is a “safe and effective” choice for low-risk prostate cancer patients.
The article reports that a three year study of prostate cancer patients from the Christie Hospital in Manchester and Mount Vernon in London claims that a one-hit treatment of HDR brachytherapy cuts the risk of side-effects and reduces the toxic impact of radiotherapy treatment when compared to external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT), which it terms ‘lower-strength’ radiotherapy.
However, the article both confuses HDR brachytherapy with radiotherapy and fails to refer to alternative findings from clinical data that offer a contrary view on this treatment option, which should be appropriately termed as ‘single fraction HDR’.
Rather than radiotherapy, which is an external treatment, brachytherapy is an internal treatment delivering radiation to the tumour site. Brachytherapy can be either a permanent implant that delivers low-dose radiation (LDR-B) or a temporary implant that delivers a higher dose over multiple sessions (HDR-B). HDR-B has been trialled as a single session, or fraction, treatment, with clinical data still being assessed.
In contrast to the Christie Hospital & Mount Vernon study, research presented at the largest UK & NI conference of Brachytherapy experts, that convened last month offered a contrary view. Clinical trial data presented by Gerard Morton, Affiliate Scientist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, included research from an independent Spanish study* which indicated that single fraction HDR-B monotherapy produced unacceptable levels of bDFS (Biochemical Disease-Free Survival), at 66% after 5 years compared to significantly higher levels with other established surgical and radiotherapy treatments. bDFS is one of the key measures used to determine the long-term efficacy of radiotherapy treatments.
Morton also presented research which highlighted that this form of HDR treatment is associated with more late urinary symptoms when compared to alternative treatment options, and whilst Toxicity from single fraction is slightly less in the first 12 months, it does get worse beyond 3 years. Moreover, data from Sunnybrook’s own randomised trial indicated that single fraction HDR-B monotherapy (19g) drives the lowest level response to PSA, compared to a 27gr-2 fraction treatment – meaning that the cancer is not responding as well.
This is borne out by the American Brachytherapy Society, whose consensus guidelines for HDR-B (published in 2012) concluded that different HDR prescription doses all had similar outcomes in terms of toxicity and disease control and therefore ‘no particular dose fractionation can be recommended’.
There are many treatment options available to prostate cancer patients – from radical prostatectomy and EBRT, to HDR-B and LDR-B, as well as brachytherapy boosts in combination with EBRT, which allow a highly conformal dose of radiation to be delivered to the prostate in a safe, efficient manner and deliver highly effective, clinically proven results.
Prostate cancer patients – especially those at early stages of diagnosis – are in a vulnerable position. The right treatment for any patient is a highly personalised decision and needs to take into consideration both the cancer diagnosis itself as well as a patient’s lifestyle choices. It is therefore the duty of medical professionals, and those publishing ‘guidance’ in any form, to provide fully considered and informed facts.
ENDS
*Study = “High-dose rate interstitial brachy as monotherapy in one fraction” Prada, Cardenal, Blanco et al
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Prostate cancer remains the most common male cancer in Scotland, accounting for more than 20% of all cancers diagnosed in men. It is the largest cause of male cancer deaths. Although the number of cases per year of prostate cancer has largely stayed the same in the past decade, survival rates are improving, particularly where diagnosis is early. The development of new technologies and treatments has undoubtedly contributed to improvements in outcomes. Alongside this, the ability to redesign pathways in line with technological advances, patients’ needs and consumer expectations has become another critical success factor.
This has certainly been the case at Edinburgh Cancer Centre, where prostate cancer pathways have evolved considerably since our brachytherapy service was first introduced in 2001. Our infrastructure has been significantly bolstered; increased patient demand has meant the multidisciplinary team has more than doubled in size while our collaboration across disciplines and specialties has greatly improved. The latter is crucial; the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer touches multiple clinical specialties and departments including urology, pathology, radiology, theatre and anaesthetics. The patient journey – end-to-end – is complex.
That patient journey has extended geographically too. As national awareness of brachytherapy has increased, the footprint of our patient population – as well as our patient numbers – has expanded. Today, around half the men referred into our service are from outside the Lothian area; traveling from as far afield as the Shetlands, Highlands and Western Isles. Ten years ago, that figure was around 25%. The increase has led us to develop two pathways; one for local patients and another – which includes a comprehensive one-day pre-assessment – for patients further afield.
The uro-oncology CNS
The complexities of the journey from diagnosis-to-treatment shine a bright light on the importance of the CNS team, which fundamentally acts as the glue that binds everything together. At the Edinburgh Cancer Centre, we’re fortunate to have three CNS’s supporting our entire uro-oncology service.
The importance of the CNS, particularly in oncology settings, is widely acknowledged. Our role is primarily to support patients at every touchpoint along the pathway – providing accessible advice, information and guidance whenever it’s required. We’re also responsible for managing communication between the various internal disciplines to ensure pathways function efficiently. Our ultimate goal is to assure an optimal patient experience.
The CNS role is particularly valuable in prostate cancer care, where the evolution in treatment options presents patients with choice at a time when coherent decision-making can often be compromised by the natural stresses of a cancer diagnosis. Our job is to provide independent, unbiased advice about all the appropriate treatment options – to ensure patients choose the right treatment for them. Quality of Life studies show that if a patient is happy with the treatment they choose, their outcomes – and their ability to tolerate side-effects – are generally better.
Communication between patients and CNS is always personalised and empathetic. Patients are rarely interested in the science or the statistics – they want to know the potential side-effects, the long-term implications and the likely clinical outcomes. And they want to hear it in simple English not medical jargon.
It’s a sign of how far brachytherapy has come that it’s now a common feature of our conversations with patients. In the information age, awareness of brachytherapy has grown significantly and many of the patients we see already have a small understanding. However, the ability to build on that knowledge and hear real-world experiences from informed professionals is hugely valuable. Nevertheless, with or without prior knowledge, CNS engagement gives patients an opportunity to discuss all their treatment options.
Brachytherapy: a great option
Primarily, brachytherapy (permanent seed implant) is not suitable for everyone; there are guidelines determining its use. However, for those patients where it is appropriate, it’s a great option. The treatment is highly convenient and, because it is less invasive, generally has faster recovery times. Similarly, side-effects like incontinence or sexual dysfunction are often less severe than surgery or radiotherapy. Most importantly of all, comparative effectiveness studies show that LDR brachytherapy reports equivalent recurrence-free survival rates to RP and EBRT in both low and intermediate risk patients. All the evidence confirms that it is a very effective treatment.
It’s no surprise that more patients are choosing brachytherapy. Our own service in Edinburgh bears this out. Here, logistical challenges around the use of theatre and resources restrict our service to two slots every week – totalling between 90 and 96 slots across the year. A decade ago, some of those slots would be unused. Today, the service is at full capacity. Demand for brachytherapy, both from the local area and beyond, is such that waiting lists have increased. This is not ideal but it illustrates the level of interest in the treatment. We’re currently developing a business case in the hope of unlocking additional theatre time to reduce waiting times and treat more patients.
Whatever the outcome, one thing is for sure: brachytherapy is here to stay as a primary treatment option for prostate cancer. What’s more, as the Edinburgh Cancer Centre prepares to treat its 1000th brachytherapy patient since 2001, it’s unlikely that treating the next 1000 will take anything like 18 years. We’ve sown the seeds – now we’re bearing the fruits.
ENDS
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In 1976 Chris successfully underwent an orchidectomy followed by external beam radiation therapy (ERBT) to remove his testicular cancer. Fast forward to 2016 and Chris began experiencing urinary incontinence, with an increased urge to go at night time. Having experienced similar symptoms during his first cancer diagnosis, he visited his GP to get checked. Following standard tests, his GP referred him to the Urology department at Guy’s Hospital, London. It was here that Chris had an MRI, blood tests and further PSA tests taken. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer, albeit non-aggressive.
“For the initial treatment, I was put on active surveillance due to low PSA levels and carried on with this method for over half a year. As my symptoms became worse though, I sought advice from my Urologist on alternative treatment options and was told active surveillance at this stage was in fact the best course as a biopsy could lead to complications.”
Chris continued on active surveillance for another 3 months and then sought out a second opinion. “After seeing a different Urologist, I was advised a biopsy should be the next step and agreed to have this done,” he explains.
“Due to the EBRT treatment I had for my testicular cancer, there was a lot of debate from my clinicians on what the best treatment option might be. A second dose of radiation is not typically advised due to higher risks of complications. So it was recommended we should try a prostatectomy to remove the prostate and the cancer. This was attempted in May but failed due to adhesions. My mood quickly dropped after this procedure and left me feeling confused on what would happen next.”
During Chris’ recovery, he was visited by his Urologist where he was told about Brachytherapy. “I was reassured that, although brachytherapy was the second option in my case, for a lot of men it is a successful first option,” Chris says. And, following researching the treatment with his wife and thanks to help of a Macmillans’ brachytherapy booklet, he felt comfortable with the low risk and was happy to go ahead with the procedure.
“In November, I underwent the brachytherapy treatment. My recovery was good and within a couple of days, I was up and moving. That said, with the rollercoaster of the year that I’d had, I was fatigued and struggled to get my head around the second cancer diagnosis and the complications I had with treatments. Fortunately, largely thanks to the quick recovery from the procedure and the success of the treatment, this changed after a couple of months. It was even noted in my local ukulele club that I had my ‘spark’ back and I was able to start volunteering again at my local bereavement centre.”
Following his experience, Chris urges that men get as much advice on their treatment options as possible. “Men do have different lifestyles and different priorities and it is really important to assess all available options to you before you make a decision. After the variety of different routes and advice I was given, I would strongly recommend that other men speak thoroughly to their clinicians and nurses from the outset about the range of options that are available as well as the likely outcomes and potential side effects of each.
“Fortunately, my story has a positive outcome, but it wasn’t without its complications which is why transparency and raising awareness is so important to me.”
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Dear Secretary of State,
Last year Mrs May pledged £75 million funding for prostate cancer research, paving the way for breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of this most prevalent cancer in men in the UK. The recent NICE Guidance on prostate cancer has made a positive recommendation that all patients referred with suspected prostate cancer should have an MRI scan before a decision is made on prostate biopsy. The NHS has become one of the first health care systems in the world to make such a recommendation.
This is greatly welcomed, as it is well recognised and documented that improved diagnosis is associated with greater treatment options and improved survival rates.
However, whilst the use of MRI in the prostate cancer pathway has seen significant advances in recent years, the current ‘de facto’ standard method for prostate cancer diagnosis in the UK remains the transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) guided or transrectal biopsy – a process whereby the biopsy needle goes through the gut wall of the rectum. This is a technique that was developed over 35 years ago and has hardly changed. It is increasingly recognised that this method has risks compared to the alternative transperineal biopsy – both in terms of inaccurate identification of potential cancer cells as well as increased likelihood of infection associated with the biopsy and the necessity for routine antibiotic use – increasing the risks of the spread of antibiotic resistant microorganisms.
There is now an effective alternative solution that allows more accurate, safer biopsies and could facilitate the elimination of the use of antibiotics and make this the single largest contributor to the NHS target to reduce gram negative septicaemia by 50%[1].
The transperineal (TP) approach where the biopsy needle is inserted into the prostate through the skin between the scrotum and the anus (perineum), provides a more thorough sampling of the prostate with less risk of infection than transrectal biopsies. Whilst not a new procedure, due to its need for complicated equipment TP has historically been conducted under a general anaesthetic. The techniques of transperineal biopsy are now available under local anaesthetic through a freehand approach, using a perineal biopsy device.
Over the last year this procedure has transformed our practice at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital; we have stopped transrectal prostate biopsies altogether and deliver outpatient based transperineal biopsies in a timely fashion within the confines of the timed prostate cancer pathway.
We have called this initiative – TREXIT. By March 29th we expect to have delivered a Network TREXIT across the hospitals within the South East London Accountable Cancer Network. The long term ambition is that by 2023 we will have delivered a UK TREXIT and we would become the first Health Care System in the world to not only offer pre-biopsy MRI but to also abandon the transrectal (or transfaecal) biopsy.
On Friday 30th November 2018, in a meeting hosted by myself and my colleagues at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, a group of 35 of the UK’s leading urologists, clinical nurse specialists and thought leaders in the field of prostate cancer diagnosis congregated and arrived at a consensus decision that we would work together to phase out TRUS biopsy in favour of transperineal biopsy under local anaesthetic (LA TP). Our chief goals are to improve the patient experience, better patient outcomes and achieve NHS cost savings. Indeed, we pledge to reduce the incidence of biopsy-related sepsis and infection by 50%, an issue that the NHS England and DoH have identified as being high priority. However, there is an urgent need for support in terms of resource, particularly in the training of clinical nurse specialists, to cope with the increasing demand for prostate biopsies.
We are being supported by professional bodies including the British Association of Urological Surgeons, The Royal Society of Medicine, Prostate Cancer UK, The British Association of Urological Nurses and many others. We are establishing training programmes to roll these techniques out across the cancer networks and strongly believe that a UK TREXIT is an achievable ambition.
We call upon you to allocate some of this £75 million funding for prostate cancer research to support us in the scaling up and rolling out of this proven methodology to deliver TREXIT.
I would be very happy to welcome you to Guy’s & St Thomas’ at any time to demonstrate something of what we have achieved. We are calling the campaign ‘TIME FOR TREXIT’, the next meeting of which will take place on Friday 29th March 2019, to which you are warmly invited.
Yours truly,
Rick Popert, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust;
Timothy O’Brien, Vice-President, the British Association of Urological Surgeons;
Alastair D Lamb, MBChB, PhD, FRCS(Urol) Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist, Senior Fellow in Robotic Surgery & Honorary Consultant Urologist, Oxford;
Raj Persad, Uro-Oncology surgeon, Southmead Hospital;
Prof Stephen Langley, Professor & Clinical Director of Urology, Professional Director of Cancer Services, Royal Surrey County Hospital, Co-Chairman Surrey & Sussex Cancer Alliance for Urology;
Jim Adshead, Consultant Urological Surgeon, East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust;
Stuart McCracken, Consultant Urologist, Newcastle University and Sunderland Royal Hospital;
John McCabe, Consultant Urological Surgeon & Assistant Medical Director, St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals.
[1] https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/clinical-policy/sepsis/antimicrobial-stewardship/
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On Friday 8th February we were delighted to host our first PrecisionPoint™ Transperineal Access System workshop, specifically designed for Urology Nurse Practitioners and Registrars. Developed in conjunction with Rick Popert, Consultant Urologist, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, the training course is designed to increase the number of nurses skilled in a new advanced prostate biopsy technique: the free hand local anaesthetic transperineal targeted and systematic biopsy (LA TP).
As part of a wider initiative to move away from historical, transrectal ultrasound guided (TRUS) biopsy techniques for prostate cancer, we are also pleased to be able to announce that the course has received the backing of both the British Association of Urological Nurses (BAUN) and Prostate Cancer UK. BAUN accreditation means that any delegates who attend will receive continued professional development (CPD) credits, while Prostate Cancer UK is providing support via its education bursary scheme for individuals.
The course was delivered by members of the team at Guy’s and St Thomas’, including Radiologist Coordinator, Dr Giles Rottenberg; Anaesthetic Coordinator, Dr Gunjeet Dua; and Jonah Rusere SELACN Urology ANP. Content was a combination of theory and practical elements covering:
Basic Prostate Ultrasound and MRI anatomyAnaesthetic Session on Transperineal biopsies under local anaesthesia +/- sedation Direct observations of LA TP biopsiesManaging the prostate pathway - Urologist and ANP
Feedback from the delegates was overwhelmingly positive:
“Great first course with lots of useful information”
“Confirmed that LA TP biopsy is a good alternative to TRUS prostate biopsy.”
“Excellent course. Very informative. Keen to implement LA TP in our hospital.”
The next course is being held on 8th March at Guy’s and St Thomas’. If you are interested in attending or would like further informatio, please email Emily Jarrold: emily.jarrold@bxt-accelyon.com
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Our Brachytherapy partner Royal Surrey County Hospital teamed up with The Daily Express to campaign for PSA Test awareness. The Daily Express published its ‘Prostate Cancer New Year’s Resolution’ article on the 6th February, raising awareness for prostate cancer and urging men across the UK to get a baseline PSA test to detect for possible symptoms of the disease.
Commentary within the article includes quotes from Professor Stephen Langley and Clinical Nurse Specialist Claire Deering at Royal Surrey County Hospital, as well as real-life cases from two patients who have since been successfully treated for their prostate cancer with low dose rate brachytherapy; Chris Stone and Bill Morris. We are hugely grateful for all their contributions as we continue to campaign to raise awareness.
Prostate cancer is one of the most important men’s health issues at the moment! The article highlights and educates readers on what a PSA test is; its benefits; and how what were historically perceived as potential risks are now negated by advances in further screening methods. Given their greater risk profiles men over the age of 50, those who have a family history of prostate cancer, or are of an African or Caribbean origin are encouraged to get checked.
To read the full article visit: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1082818/prostate-cancer-symptoms-signs-UK-treatment-PSA-test-screening?fbclid=IwAR34ZWOMw73l0MxBEeFfM4JNRgO8GWGMHbZ6953m9OQS4FM_OZItugCWTko
If you would like to speak to one of our team further on the subject, please email: info@bxt-accelyon.com
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Chris Stone was a 66-year-old physically active, semi-retired senior banking executive when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early February 2017.
It was picked up during an annual private health check that indicated his PSA (prostate specific antigen) level had jumped from 3.5 to 5.4 in one year.
“I didn’t have any symptoms and felt fine. In fact, I go to the gym three times a week and play golf to a reasonable standard two or three times a week, so it came as a bit of a shock when my GP immediately put me on a two-week-referral to Frimley Park Hospital.”
A very rapid examination and subsequent diagnosis in early March 2017 confirmed three cancerous tumours, but also that the cancer had not spread beyond the prostate.
“Following diagnosis, I was given some very good material on treatment options,” Chris says. “Despite my initial preference for radiotherapy, I was eligible for brachytherapy which was the treatment I ended up choosing. It was less intrusive and totally concentrated on the tumours.”
“Brachytherapy suited my own assessment of my condition. I am quite fit and have no problems with general anaesthetic. The seeds are sown next to the tumours giving 24-hour radiation to kill the tumours without intruding whatsoever on my normal life. Side effects have been almost non-existent.”
On 27th April, Chris received the brachytherapy procedure at the Royal Surrey County Hospital by Professor Stephen Langley after enjoying a planned city break to Berlin. “I was admitted at 7am and discharged by 3pm, and on the golf course at 10am the next morning for an 18-hole round,” he says.
“The procedure was really unobtrusive to me and my functions returned to normal very quickly. For the first 24 hours, urinating was a little difficult, but not painful. I have had no problems with incontinence, though Tamulosin did help for the first six months. First ejaculations were a little bloody but again, this soon returned to normal. I was prescribed Viagra but have never needed to use it.”
Chris is a big advocate of brachytherapy. “I would 100 per cent recommend brachytherapy to all those to whom it is applicable. Who wants their prostate removed? Why would you have radiotherapy on a regular basis when radioactive seeds do the same thing 24/7 without any side effects. I never knew I had a problem and hardly felt I had a cure.”
In fact Chris’ recovery is such that he’s now out of retirement after being head hunted back to London to join a fast growing commercial foreign currency brokerage by the Bank of England. “My partner works and I find the cut and thrust of commercial trading very stimulating so will commit for a few more years and help this young company grow,” he says.
Chris is keen to make men aware of the importance of getting themselves checked early and regularly. “I was captain of my golf club, Camberley Heath in Surrey, and in 2012 my record charitable fund was given to Frimley Park Hospital for research into less intrusive and better diagnosis of prostate cancer in men. Little did I know it would affect me, but since that time I have been happy to spread the message and get people checked - including my brothers,” he concludes.
ENDS
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BXTAccelyon attend the 9th Annual Urology in General Practice (UroGP) Symposium 2018
In August 2018, we were thrilled to attend the 9th Annual Urology in General Practice (UroGP) Symposium 2018 conference held in Melbourne. The event represented Australia’s leading forum on Urological health specifically for general practitioners (GPs). An immersive day addressed to GPs and nurses alike to explore complex urological health issues and review the latest innovative developments in the field of urology.
The program for the day consisted of presentations from nationally and internationally recognised experts, exploring such topics as PSA testing, robotic prostatectomy, low dose rate brachytherapy as well as the role of GPs in active surveillance for prostate cancer, amongst others. Speaker Dr. Michael Chao presented on low dose rate brachytherapy (LDR-B), a curative treatment which has been used in Australia in the management of non-metastatic prostate cancer since 1998. More recently, the use of Iodine-125 for permanent LDR brachytherapy implants has gained popularity and received widespread treatment acceptance.
Chao further highlighted the viability of LDR brachytherapy as a treatment option by presenting the over-time results of the prospective case series, Chao M et al. J Contemp Brachytherapy 2018: a case series which assessed the effectiveness and safety of permanent LDR brachytherapy for patients with clinically localised prostate cancer at a private radiation oncology centre (Radiation Oncology Victoria) in Melbourne, Australia. The results of this series are in parallel with regionally-based published research as well as wider studies such as The Ascende-RT study and The Central European Journal of Urology (CEJU) study. All of which provide clinicians with long-term data about the benefits of LDR brachytherapy for patients with clinically-localised, low-to-intermediate risk prostate cancer.
This growing cohort of encouraging research continues to support brachytherapy as an effective treatment option and a key modality in select men with prostate cancer.
As prostate cancer continues to rise in Australia, GPs can be much more than referrers. It is events such as this that highlight the importance of raising awareness of the variety of prostate cancer treatments available and empowering both GPs and patients to host more open conversations that enhance decision-making and drive better outcomes!
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Kevin Darragh began his prostate cancer treatment journey back in December 2012. He initially visited his doctor in Feilding where he had a digital examination taken of his prostate. Following this, on the 1st February, he was referred to a second doctor in Palmerston North. There he had a repeated digital examination and more biopsies were taken.
After all the examinations were complete, Kevin was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013 and was given 3 treatment options; surgery; radiotherapy and brachytherapy.
“I researched a number of other treatment options with my wife and we both felt that surgery would be horrendous and radiotherapy too time-consuming.”
After researching and discussing treatment options with those close to him, Kevin decided on brachytherapy and on February 22nd 2013 had his initial consultation in Palmerston North. Shortly after, on the 28th March, he had a phone conversation with an additional Doctor in Tauranga followed by a visit to the centre on July 8th to undertake the planning for treatment which took place on 24th August in Tauranga by Professor Mark Fraundorfer.
He recovered from his procedure within a couple of days and was back to a normal lifestyle. “The worst part of the procedure was the night before both the planning and procedure - which was emptying my bowels.” Kevin’s prior medical history requires the regular use of blood pressure tablets, which makes him urinate often and this was something the treatment exacerbated. “The journey home was difficult as we needed many stops. I take a pill that makes me urinate quite often and the procedure made it temporarily worse. However, this settled and the recovery time was just a couple of days”. Besides these initial side-effects, the brachytherapy has had no major effect on his personal life.
Now semi-retired as of April 2013 and not as a result of prostate cancer, he is a strong advocate of brachytherapy and would recommend that other men consider the treatment as an option. “It was relatively simple and painless. I didn’t have to use drains or have any bed rest, within a week my life was pretty much back to normal.”
In many ways, Kevin found having four doctors helpful and appreciated the opinions given to him. Since completing his procedure he has visited his Doctor every 6-12 months for check-ups until he retired and still has annual PSA checks which are monitored by his GP and Professor Fraundorfer.
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