Brachytherapy is an advanced cancer treatment often referred to as internal radiation. Nancy Naeve Brown met the very first brachytherapy patient at Avera Queen of Peace to find out how this once prostate cancer patient is doing 5 months later.
Kim Cross owns and operates "Merchandise Outlet Western Ware" on Mitchell's main street which means he wears many hats inside his store. That's exactly what worried him when he found out this summer (2010) he had early stage prostate cancer.
Kim says, "Dr. Bhat suggested taking my prostate completely out and I didn't want my stomach cut open too bad."
Kim's Urologist Dr. Dileep Bhat teamed up with Radiation Oncologist Dr. Stephen Dick, to perform the first low dose brachytherapy procedure in Mitchell at Avera Queen of Peace hospital. When used for prostate cancer patients it's outpatient surgery done in the operating room.
Radiation Oncologist at Avera Queen of Peace Dr. Stephen Dick says, "There is no cutting, we place needles inside the prostate gland, put radioactive seeds in the gland, pull the needles out and you're done."
Since its internal radiation other areas of the body aren't exposed like external beam radiation not to mention the frequency of that treatment. If Kim had opted for that he would have been coming to the Cancer Center Monday through Friday for 2 months. Surgery wasn't for him either.
Urologist Dr. Dileep Bhat it saves the patient a big operation and typically with radical prostatectomy you will be in the hospital at least 1 or 2 days and go home with a catheter for at least a week or more. It's a much bigger surgery. This is not for all patients with prostate cancer only a select group who have early stage, low grade.
Brachytherapy was not only a good option for Kim, it was really his only option. He didn't want to have to close the store because if it's closed, he's not selling any clothes.
Kim says, "If they would have taken my prostate out it would have been a major surgery. I would have had to wear a catheter on the outside of my leg for a while. I didn't want to do that with my job. So this was great."
Kim had his procedure in the morning on June 2 and was back to work by noon; probably a little earlier than he should have, and now this small business owner who wears many hats will proudly take "cancer survivor" as a feather in his cap.
Doctors recommend getting your PSA levels tested starting at age 50, earlier if you have prostate cancer in your family. If caught early, it can be treated and cured.