Gold Seed Markers

Jim Meyers found out he had prostate cancer last November.

"You have good days and you have bad days."

Meyers got the early diagnosis during his yearly checkup. He decided to aggressively fight the disease.

"Really, what made me go this direction, I used to work with a guy who died from prostate cancer, and that's a good incentive."

The direction he took is a newly available method of making each treatment for prostate cancer incredibly precise.

"The difficulty in irradiating the prostate gland is that it shifts around in the body depending on the amount of fluid in the bladder. So precision is extremely important to keep from damaging any of the surrounding tissue."

Dr. Charles Nichols said, “The key thing is when you're sculpting such a precise radiation distribution is that you want your target to be right in the middle of it every day."

Now radiation oncologists have a new way to do that. It's in the form of gold seed markers implanted in the prostate during an outpatient procedure. Then, two weeks later, radiation treatment begins.

Before each treatment, the system lines up with those gold seeds ensuring an incredibly precise dose each and every time.

"Each day for treatment we are able to, on our treatment machine, to snap x-rays of the patient and make shifts in the patients positioning to get the prostate right into the center of our treatment volume.

Dr. Nichols says he is amazed at just how well the markers work.

"Given this kind of additional precision which is millimeter precision allows us to give higher radiation doses - allows us to exclude the rectum and the bladder from the high dose radiation field, and will ultimately probably increase the cure rate, not just for patients with early disease but for patient with more advanced disease."

Those high doses of radiation are provided by the IMRT, Intensity Modulated Insulation Therapy, which has fewer side affects than other types of treatment.

Just about any prostate cancer patient can benefit from the gold seeds.

"I like the seed implantation model in all the patients, but I think it's particularly beneficial in men with a body mass index greater than 25 or 30.

And how does he feel about having a little gold inside of him.

"i'm gonna take out a new insurance policy."

Prostate cancer patients who decide to go the gold seed route can expect about 52 radiation treatments.

Meyers says it only takes about an hour out of his day..and so far he hasn't had many side effects.

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