Cs-131 Seeds for Prostate Cancer

What are Cs-131 seeds for prostate cancer?

This non-surgical treatment option is also known as brachytherapy or interstitial radiotherapy. Cs-131 is short for Cesium-131, the radiotherapeutic isotope used for this treatment. We inject radiotherapeutic implants—each the size of a grain of rice—directly into the prostate gland. These “seeds” release therapeutic radiation to nearby cells in your prostate. Each seed exposes only a small volume of tissue to radiation.

Cesium-131 and Palladium-103

You may know people who had a previous treatment using Palladium 103 (Pd-103) seeds. Cs-131 works better than Pd-103 to control tumors. It also has fewer side effects than Pd-103. Cs-131 has a half-life of just 9.7 days. In other words, your prostate will receive half of the radiation dose in the first 9.7 days, then one quarter of the dose in the next 9.7 days.

This approach:

  • Minimizes radiation exposure of healthy organs in your pelvis
  • Reduces side effects

You will receive 90 percent of your therapeutic radiation in the first 33 days after implantation. Within about 3 months of your implant appointment, the radiation will barely be detectable.

Why am I having Cs-131 seeds treatment?

With Cs-131, we can treat sites throughout the prostate. This includes microscopic cancer cells that were not detected in your biopsy. The number of seeds we place can range from 40 to 150, depending on the size of your prostate gland.

What type of technology does this treatment use?

We use real time, 3-dimensional (3D) imaging to carefully place each seed at a predetermined location and depth. In this way, we cover the entire gland and the cancer site. The number of seeds implanted into your prostate will depend on your unique anatomy.

We place an ultrasound probe in your rectum to image the prostate. We also use continuous X-ray imaging. Together, these provide a magnified, 3D view of your prostate during the procedure. After the implantation—and while you are still anesthetized—we will check your urethra and bladder and retrieve any seeds found in your bladder.

What conditions are treated using Cs-131?

We use Cs-131 to treat low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer. Cs-131 seeds may be used together with external beam radiation for higher-risk prostate cancer treatment.

What will I experience during Cs-131 treatment?

You will receive general or spinal anesthesia during the implantation procedure. The procedure typically takes about an hour in the operating room plus time in the recovery area. You will be able to go home the same day.

Will I have side effects?

After your procedure you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Constipation or loose bowels immediately after the procedure
  • Fatigue that can last up to 6 months but depends on the stage and severity of your diagnosis and other factors
  • Pelvic discomfort
  • Urinary issues, which may include:
    • A sensation of needing to urinate frequently or urgently
    • Blood in your urine right after the procedure
    • Burning with urination lasting about a month, and gradually improving over time 
    • Inability to urinate (retention), which, in some cases, requires catheterization
  • Swelling at the surgical site

We will discuss possible side effects, their duration, and prescriptions or recommendations with you before your treatment.