Boost for prostate cancer care in Gippsland
An effective treatment for prostate cancer is now being offered in Gippsland, with The Alfred launching its advanced seed brachytherapy program at Latrobe Regional Hospital this week.
The treatment involves radioactive ‘seeds’, smaller than a grain of rice, being placed inside the patient near the tumour. Over time, the radiation damages the cancer cells so they are unable to grow or divide.
Alfred Health radiation oncology director Prof Jeremy Millar said seed brachytherapy is a proven treatment for prostate cancer.
“Brachytherapy is offered as a day or overnight procedure and carries lower risk of incontinence or impotence than other treatment options.
“The Alfred was the first hospital in Australia to offer seed brachytherapy to public patients and we’re proud to be partnering with Latrobe Regional Hospital to bring this service to Gippsland,” Prof Millar said.
The first patient to undergo seed brachytherapy at LRH was 65 year-old Paul Butterworth from Morwell. Mr Butterworth has recovered well from the initial surgery to implant the seeds.
“Alfred Health Radiation Oncology unit opened a regional centre at LRH in June 2006, and being able to extend this service further is a real win for the local community,” Prof Millar said.
More than 250 men from Gippsland are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. Traditionally it has been necessary to travel to a metropolitan area to access certain treatments.
“We know easy access to treatment is a key factor for local men with prostate cancer,” said LRH Chief Executive Peter Craighead. “We hope the introduction of brachytherapy at LRH and hospitals in Bairnsdale and Wonthaggi will vastly improve their chance of survival.”
Equipment required for the procedure has been funded by the Victorian Government and community initiative Latrobe Biggest Ever Blokes BBQ.