Paul Butterworth (seated) was the first patient at LRH to receive seed brachytherapy. He is pictured with (l-r) Alfred Health Director of Radiation Oncology Prof Jeremy Millar, Latrobe Biggest Ever Blokes BBQ representatives Ian Nethercote and Allan Cunningham and Radiation Therapy Manager Cath Beaufort.
Gippsland Radiation Oncology at Latrobe Regional Hospital has treated a local prostate cancer patient with ‘seed brachytherapy’ for the first time.
Seed brachytherapy is a form of radiation treatment. Radioactive ‘seeds’ smaller than a grain of rice are placed inside or near the area that requires treatment. Over time, the radiation damages the cancer cells so they are unable to grow or divide. It is less invasive than surgery so recovery times are faster and there are fewer side effects.
In the past, Gippsland men with prostate cancer have had to travel to metropolitan hospitals such as Alfred Health for seed brachytherapy. LRH is delighted to be able to offer this important treatment option through its long running partnership with Alfred Health.
About 270 men from Gippsland a year will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and their survival rate is less than men in metropolitan areas.
“We know easy access to treatment is a key factor for local men with prostate cancer. We hope the introduction of brachytherapy at LRH and hospitals in Bairnsdale and Wonthaggi will vastly improve their chance of survival,” LRH Chief Executive Peter Craighead said.
The first patient to undergo seed brachytherapy at LRH was 65 year-old Morwell man Paul Butterworth. Mr Butterworth has recovered well from the initial surgery to implant the seeds.
Alfred Health radiation oncology director Prof Jeremy Millar has been using seed brachytherapy to combat prostate cancer for nearly 20 years and said he is pleased Gippsland residents now have improved access to the service.
“Seed brachytherapy is a proven treatment for prostate cancer,” Prof Millar said. “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.”
Equipment required for the procedure has been funded by the Victorian Government and community initiative Latrobe Biggest Ever Blokes BBQ. The annual BBQ in Morwell raises money for prostate cancer awareness and medical equipment in the Gippsland area and national research programs.