Everyone has swallowed seeds before, in food, as babies, by accident… and despite what our parents say about plants growing in our stomachs because of them, swallowing seeds is harmless. But, what if swallowing some seeds could help treat cancer?
Some cancers, such as prostate, are very hard to treat with conventional radiation. However radioactive seed implants can often get where traditional chemotherapy cannot. Doctors meet with patients who wish to undergo the procedure and scan the cancerous prostate with an ultrasound, before implanting 40 to 100 seeds in the prostate.
The procedure to get the seed treatment started is often long and takes various aspects of your life into account to ensure that you are eligible, the radiation won’t inadvertently harm anyone, and that you have no prior health issues that could cause problems during the procedure.
These small seeds are radioactive but are not harmful to any person or the rest of your body. It is recommended that you stay away from pregnant women and young children during the course of the treatment, as they are the most sensitive to even the slightest doses of radiation.
How it works
These seeds have a radioactive lifespan, where they release bursts of radiation to target and destroy the cancer cells that are around them but not the surrounding tissues. After that lifespan is up, they become inert and remain harmlessly in your system.
The procedure is about an hour and a half long, and once you are placed under anesthesia, a radiation oncologist and urologist load the seeds into needles. The needles are then increased into the prostate, the seeds are released, and the entire process is viewed with ultrasound to ensure precision.
However, if you dislike the idea of having seeds remain in your body, Doctors can perform another procedure, where hollow needles are placed into your prostate and are filled with radioactive material before they are removed. However, this procedure does take longer but is just as effective.
Since the procedure is in a, shall we say tender area, most of the side effects have to do with urination. Either needing to go frequently or having a burning sensation are common side effects, however, medication is often given to help these problems go away, and they will leave over time.
Regular check-ins to ensure that the procedure is working are done, and sometimes additional radiation is needed to ensure that the cancer is left under control. Once the time is up, the seeds will lose their radiation and remain in your body but are completely harmless and inactive.
Applying for this program
Joining this program takes some research to ensure that you are eligible and that you are comfortable with all the proceedings. Often, several doctors will meet both with you and with each other to ensure that everything works out fine before you are allowed to begin.
However, if you do become eligible and everything works out fine, then this treatment can help you control prostate cancer and eventually destroy it.