Ask the Doctor
August 24, 2010
Are we moving backwards in terms of medicine ?

Dear Doc,

My friend in New York was diagnosed with prostate cancer and he told me that his urologist used a high tech procedure where they put some radioactive materials in the prostate that kills the cancer. My local doctor wants to ‘cut out’ my prostate.{{more}} Like when the world moving forward in medicine it is like we moving backwards. What is up with this country?


Dear Sam,

What you are describing is a procedure called brachytherapy. It is a procedure where minute radioactive granules are placed in the prostate gland and over a period of time, the radiation given, kills off the cancer cells. It is a desired procedure for different stages of cancer of the prostate as many try to avoid surgery. Recent studies of the effectiveness of brachytherapy questions the effectiveness of the procedure, so we are yet to be conclusive of its improved success over surgery.

Surgical removal of the entire prostate is still a very effective method even in countries where the use of brachytherapy is available. The reasoning behind surgery is that by removing the entire prostate, the chance of removing all the cancerous cells is assumed. Surgery is more effective with early diagnosis when the cancer is confined to the prostate only.

I cannot conclude that medicine is moving backwards in our country, but what I encourage you to do is to use your efforts in assuring that the best practice is done and that we continue to promote preventative and screening methods.


SVG Cancer Society,

P.O. Box 709, Kingstown.