Report: Erectile function preserved with prostate brachytherapy

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BJU International published a report stating that after low-dose brachytherapy treatment in prostate cancer patients, erectile function is likely to remain strong over the long term among those who had good sexual function before the treatment.

The procedure of low-dose prostate brachytherapy involves the implantation of grain-like radioactive seeds into the prostate gland tumors. Radiation is released from the seeds, and the prostate tumors shrivel and die.

The study, performed by James Cesaretti, MD, and colleagues from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, studied the effect of low dose-rate prostate brachytherapy on the sexual potency. The researchers evaluated 131 men, all of whom had optimal erectile function before treatment, with at least 7 years of follow-up after treatment for T1b to T3a prostate cancer.

The authors reported that 42 men (32 percent) developed erectile dysfunction, but the potency rates increased for men over the age of 50. After implantation, the highest potency rates existed for men between the ages of 50 and 59, who maintained a rate of 92 percent.

51 percent of the 89 patients, who reported that they retained erectile function for at least 7 years, were using some type of treatment for erectile dysfunction.

As a result of the findings, Cesaretti reported to Reuters Health that he would “favor brachytherapy over radical prostatectomy for the preservation of erectile function."