Some patients receiving radiotherapy for prostate cancer will have their treatment split into two portions. The first stage of killing the cancerous cells uses a temporary radioactive implant, in a process known as high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy. The second part is delivered as a powerful x-ray beam from outside the patient, in a process known as external beam radiotherapy, which is carried out over a number of appointments. During both stages, however, it is possible for healthy tissue to be damaged such as the large bowel which can become chronically inflamed.
By inserting a special “shield” known as a hyaluronic acid rectal spacer, it is possible to protect the neighbouring tissues from the potential damage caused by external beam radiotherapy. The rectal spacer insertion is usually carried out under local anaesthetic, one to two weeks prior to treatment. However, in June the Brachytherapy Team became the first team globally to insert a hyaluronic acid rectal spacer during HDR brachytherapy treatment.
Source: Healthcare in Europe