Dennis R. Hill MD HDR Prostate Brachytherapy Specialist Compares Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

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Dennis R. HIll M.D. Radiation Oncologist at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, CA continues his series of discussions on comparing the latest in prostate cancer treatment options.

Dennis R. Hill M.D, Radiation Oncologist at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, CA, who specializes in HDR Prostate Brachytherapy, states that Intensity Modulated Radiation Treatment or IMRT is an improvement over standard external beam irradiation in that the beam is dynamically modified during the daily treatment. The daily IMRT for prostate cancer treatments are given over an eight to nine week period. The treatment machine, called a linear accelerator, delivers a high powered beam of radiation to the body as in standard external beam radiation, but this newer machine is equipped with a special device called a computerized multi-leaf collimator that shapes the beam during the radiation in accordance with this radiation treatment for prostate cancer treatment plan.

According to Dr. Hill, the shape and speed of the collimator windows determine the intensity of dose to the target. The equipment is rotated around the patient to send radiation beams from different angles to give the tumor a higher dose than the adjacent bladder and rectum. This prostate cancer treatment option is definitely an improvement over standard conformal external beam radiation but it still is an external beam which must penetrate pelvic tissues to get to the target in the middle of the pelvis.

In contrast, one of the newest prostate cancer treatment options, High Dose Rate brachytherapy, is delivered from within the prostate and radiates outward a short distance with a rapid falloff. The term brachytherapy is derived from the Greek brachy which means short distance. The intensity of the dose is modulated by adjusting the time the source stays at each position within the implanted catheter matrix. The radiation dose is modulated at the target not as it enters the body. Finally, it does not have the daily patient set up and prostate motion problems associated with external beam intensity modulated treatment (IMRT). Dr. Hill concludes that IMRT is an improvement in external beam radiation treatment but the advantage still goes to High Dose Rate brachytherapy, a prostate cancer treatment option with less risk of prostate cancer side effects than external beam radiation methods.

About Dennis R. Hill MD

Dr. Hill has been doing High Dose Rate Brachytherapy exclusively since 2004. He has done over five hundred High Dose Rate Prostate Brachytherapy implants and has published scholarly articles on the subject. His office is located at: Dennis R. Hill MD 3012 Summit Street Suite 2675 Oakland, CA 94609 510-869-8875 drh(at)dennisrhillmd(dot)com and his website is, which includes a quiz to determine if a patient is a candidate for HDR Prostate Brachytherapy.

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