Brachytherapy: Can Someone Share a Month-by-Month Narrative of What Recovery is Like?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 93
   Posted 2/2/2007 6:45 AM (GMT -6)   
As I've said on other posts, I am still evaluating options, and probably leaning towards the robot surgery. This board happens to have a fair number of posts describing the post-surgical recovery so a candidate knows pretty well what to expect. Kind of like a descent into a valley of incontinence and ED, lasting from weeks to months to years.

But what about brachytherapy? I can't recall seeing a similar description of what happens. I've read similar statistics for brachy, to surgery, but no where have I seen someone describe the journey. I guess there is a period of swelling in the prostate several weeks out, when urination can be a problem and a catheter might be required. But what happens around, say, month 6, 10, 12,18, 24,36, etc?

Anyone who could share, it would help in the decision making process here...


Age, 53
PSA 3.76, Gleason 6, T1c, scans negative
psa doubling time 35 months
Still researching and deciding treatment options.  Leaning towards da vinci robotic.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 626
   Posted 2/2/2007 8:00 AM (GMT -6)   

If you go to after entering the site click on mentor experiences and scroll down you will find 21 men's stories listed under the brachytherapy treatment. Perhaps this will be of some help.

Diagnosed 7/6/06
1 of 10 core samples, 40%
Stage T1c, Gleason 3+3
Da Vinci on 11/01/06
Catheter out on 11/13/06
56 Years Old
Post Op Path
Gleason 3+3
Approx. 5% of prostate involved
Prostate Confined, margins clear
Undetectable PSA on 12/18/06
No more pads as of 1/13/07

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 355
   Posted 2/2/2007 11:48 AM (GMT -6)   
Please feel free to reach our journey with Brachytherapy - it is posted under JustJulie's Brachytherapy Journey - it details my husband's journey from diagnosis to post-op.  We are at six months out and he's doing great.
Hope that post helps you - I'll post to it to bump it back up to the first page for you (and hope that works)!

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 2/2/2007 12:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Markus, dont take all you read for granted, everyone has their own way and time of recovering, take me for example i had laproscopic surgery on the 12 January and i am feeling great been up and about since day 3 as normal, had catheter on for 10 days, bit of a nuisance but once used to it no problem, since having catheter out only used 1 pad, had a couple of tiny accidents but since then dry. As for the ed side of it its coming back already, had a few erections so far and a couple were usable not 100% but i only left the wife alone because ive been told to hold back for a couple of weeks, i like you expected the worst but have been pleasantly suprised and am looking forward to the future, all i say is whatever route you choose get yourself fit, do your kegels/pelvic floor exercises as we call them over here and take plenty of long walks, the rest should be a piece of cake.
I wish you all the best with your decision & recovery.
Mike ( London Uk ) 49

Boardy 2
New Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/17/2009 6:42 AM (GMT -6)   
I am a 70 year old man with Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, the late effects of polio, a previous TIA, and problems with obesity. I had brachytherapy for prostate cancer on Aug 19 2008 in Lisbon Portugal. I had continuous severe pain for the first 6 months with frequent and difficult urination especially at night. The necessity to create extreme pressure while urinating to combat the excruciating pain involved in urination caused severe hemorrhoids. The only medications prescribed by the urologist during this period were Voltaren retard and for no reason I understand, Cialis 5mg BID. Neither of these drugs had any remedial effects. I had a cat scan after 3 months months; the report simply stated that all was well, the number of seeds implanted and nothing else. MY CONSTANT COMPLAINTS TO THE SURGEON about THE PAIN CAUSED HIM TO SAY I WAS JUST A BABY. The acute symptoms started to abate during March 2009 when my family doctor without consulting the surgeon, started me on a 20 day course of Tramadol 100mg and Ranitidene 150 mg (to ease stomach problems caused by the numerous pills I take for the multiplicity of problems mentioned in the first sentence.) Now after 9 months the pain and its frequency have diminished considerably as has the frequency of urination. I still have periods when I am still very uncomfortable with moderate pain followed by remissions lasting several days when I feel as though I am finally recovering. At the present rate of progress I anticipate a further 3 to 6 months before there is no more pain.

Steve n Dallas
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 4840
   Posted 5/17/2009 7:12 AM (GMT -6)   
JustJulie's Brachytherapy Journey
Age 54   - 5'11"   205lbs
Overall Heath Condition - Good
PSA - July 2007 & Jan 2008 -> 1.3
Biopsy - 03/04/08 -> Gleason 6 
06/25/08 - Da Vinci robotic laparoscopy
Catheter in for five weeks.
Dry after 3 months.
10/03/08 - 1st Quarter PSA -> less then .01
01/16/09 - 2nd Quarter PSA -> less then .01
xx/xx/xx   - 3rd Quater skipped
05/14/09  - 4th Quarter PSA -> less then .01
Surgeon - Keith A. Waguespack, M.D.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 4240
   Posted 5/17/2009 7:16 AM (GMT -6)   

Dear naimnut:

Julie's journey gives you more time and perspective.  If you're looking for details on the first 6 months, click on the link in my signature for my journey.

So far, brachytherapy has been a good choice for me.


Age 62
Gleason 4 +3 = 7
PSA 4.2
2 of 16 cores cancerous
Brachytherapy December 9, 2008.  73 Iodine-125 seeds.  Procedure went great, catheter out before I went home, only minor discomfort.  Regular activities resumed, everything continues to function normally as of 5/1/09.

John T
Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 4250
   Posted 5/17/2009 11:07 AM (GMT -6)   
It is helpful to hear about other's side affects for various treatments, but you must understand that the side affects for ALL treatments follow a normal bell shaped curve. There will abe a few patients 1%-10% that encounter severe long term side affects and 1%-10% who suffer minor or only short term side affects. It's impossible to know where you will end up on that curve. If you are healthy then the chances of ending up on the far end with few side affects is much better. If you have problems now expect those problems to worsen.

I have struggled with this issue for months and finally came to the conclusions that if I could not accept the worse side affects from a treatment then I would choose something else. Also various treatments have time effects in that side effects either appear early or late but may end up in the same place 3 or 4 years down the road. For me I would rather delay the effects and go with the treatment that has delayed effects.

Every individual may have different preferences as to what is important to them personally, so it is important to understand what your preferences are.

64 years old.

I had an initial PSA test in 1999 of 4.4. PSA increased every 6 months reaching 40 in 5-08. PSA free ranged from 16% to 10%. Over this time period I had a total of 13 biopsies and an endorectal MRIS all negative and have seen doctors at Long Beach, UCLA, UCSF and UCI. DX has always been BPH and continue to get biopsies every year.

In 10-08 I had a 25 core biopsy that showed 2 cores positive, gleason 6 at less than 5%. Surgery was recommended and I was in the process of interviewing surgeons when my wife's oncologist recommended I get a 2nd opinion from a prostate oncologist.

I saw Dr Sholtz, in Marina Del Rey, and he said that the path reports indicated no tumor, but indolant cancer clusters that didn't need any treatment. He was concerned that my PSA history indicated that I had a large amount of PC somewhere that had yet to be uncovered and put me through several more tests.

A color doppler targeted biopsy in 11-08 found a large tumor in the transition zone, gleason 6 and 7. Because of my high PSA Dr. suspected lymph node involvement, 30% chance, and sent me to Holland for a Combidex MRI, even though bone and CT scans were clear.

Combidex MRI showed clear lymph nodes and a 2,5 cm tumor in the anterior. I was his 1st patient to come up clear on the Combidex which has a 96% accuracy,

I've been on a no meat and dairy diet since 12-08 and PSA reduce to 30 while I awaited the Combidex MRI.

The location of the tumor in the anterior apex next to the urethea makes a good surgical margin very unlikely. Currently on Casodex and Proscar for 8 weeks to shrink my 60 mm prostate. Treatment will be seeds followed by 5 weeks of IMRT while continuing on Casodex and Proscar. So far no side affects from the Casodex.

As of April 10 and 7 weeks on Casodex and Proscar PSA has gone from 30 to 0.62 and protate from 60mm to 32mm. Very minor side affects. Doc says all this indicates tumor is not aggessive

Awaiting schedule for seed impants


Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 990
   Posted 5/17/2009 11:08 AM (GMT -6)   
I opted for surgery, but my younger brother's experience with brachytherapy was very good. He was treated 5 years ago at age 54 and was back at work making sales calls two days later. Now, five years out his PSA is .025 (a great number for brachy which does leave some prostate function.). He reports that Viagra works great. He is absolutely satisfied with the choice that he made.
Age at diagnosis 66, PSA 5.5
Biopsy 12/08 12 cores, 8 positive
Gleason 3 + 4 = 7
CAT scan 1/09 negative, Bone scan 1/09 negative

Robotic surgery 03/03/09 Catheter Removed 03/08/09
Post surgical pathology report. Lymph nodes negative, Seminal vesicles negative
Surgical margins positive, Capsular penetration extensive Gleason 4 + 3 = 7
At 6 weeks: 1 pad/day, 1 pad/night -- mostly dry at night.

Post Edited (geezer99) : 5/17/2009 10:12:03 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 355
   Posted 5/20/2009 8:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Just checking in with a recent Brachytherapy report - my husband's PSA is down again to 0.31 - truly a reason to celebrate.
Markus:  with respect to catheter - he only needed the catheter on the day of surgery - it was removed before the left the hosptial and, thank goodness, has never need another one.  Other than fatigue - very few side effects.
Best wishes to you and let me know if you need any more information - believe it or not, his surgery was in 2006 and he's going great.
Husband diagnosed in December 2005
PSA of 3.74
Gleason 6
Brachytherapy (91 stranded seeds) April 2006
PSA of 0.39 - November 2008 - whoo hooo!
PSA of 0.31 - May, 2009 - whoo hoo again!

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