- Prostate cancer
- Management or treatment
- Radiation therapy
- Side effects of brachytherapy
Side effects of brachytherapy
The side effects of brachytherapy are similar to those experienced with external radiation treatment. Symptoms usually start 1–2 weeks after treatment and improve within a couple of months.
They may include:
- passing urine more often and urgently
- pain when urinating
- blood in the urine
- slower urine flow.
A temporary catheter may be needed for a few days or weeks if you are unable to empty your bladder. There is a small chance of bowel problems or bleeding from the back passage. Permanent brachytherapy is less likely to cause erection problems compared with other treatments. However, erection problems and changes in ejaculation (such as pain or dry orgasm) can also occur after temporary brachytherapy.
Talk to your doctor or treatment team about ways to manage these side effects. For more on this, see Managing side effects.
Dr Amy Hayden, Radiation Oncologist, Westmead and Blacktown Hospitals, and Chair, Faculty of Radiation Genito-Urinary Group (FROGG), The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, NSW; Prof Shomik Sengupta, Professor of Surgery and Deputy Head, Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, and Visiting Urologist and Uro-Oncology Lead, Urology Department, Eastern Health, VIC; A/Prof Arun Azad, Medical Oncologist, Urological and Prostate Cancers, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Ken Bezant, Consumer; Dr Marcus Dreosti, Radiation Oncologist, GenesisCare, and Clinical Strategy Lead, Oncology Australia, SA; A/Prof Nat Lenzo, Nuclear Physician, Specialist in Internal Medicine, Group Clinical Director, GenesisCare Theranostics and The University of Western Australia, WA; Jessica Medd, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Department of Urology, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, and HeadwayHealth Clinical and Consulting Psychology Services, NSW; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Western Australia; Graham Rees, Consumer; Kerry Santoro, Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, SA; A/Prof David Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Cancer Research Division, Cancer Council NSW; Matthew Starr, Consumer. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title. This booklet is funded through the generosity of the people of Australia.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
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