Health Beat

Health Beat: Cesium for prostate cancer

CHICAGO - Dave Ricordati was 56 when doctors diagnosed him with prostate cancer. His first thought was about his wife, Kathy, and their three children.

"Our youngest daughter is getting married in March and I want to walk her down the aisle. These are all the things you worry about as a dad, as a husband, that you’re going to miss out," Ricordati said.

Ricordati said he didn't want surgery to remove the prostate.

"Quite honestly, I wanted to have sex and intimacy after the treatment, and I don’t think that treatment provided those options," Ricordati continued.

Instead, Dr. Brian Moran, the medical director of the Chicago Prostate Center, treated Ricordati with brachytherapy. He recently studied the effectiveness of an isotope called Cesium-131. It's designed to deliver the radiation dose with less concern about the patient exposing children and pets to radiation.

"Some patients come in and say, you know, 'Doctor, I can't be radioactive for six months,' or it's usually five half-lifes. With cesium, there's some element of radiation present for a month," Moran explained.

Lee Gimbel, 72, is a volunteer with Alzheimer's patients. He wanted a treatment that would get him back to normal quickly.

"It was rather fast, rather routine. It felt better than having anything surgical,"Gimbel stated.

Ricordati is back to playing men's floor hockey, a hobby he was afraid he would have had to give up if he had surgery.

"This is the least side-effects with the same cure rate. I don't know why anybody would pick anything else to be honest," Ricordati said.

Moran recently completed a randomized study of the Cesium-131 isotope and found it was just as effective as other isotopes in the radiation seeds. Moran said patients with stage-one and stage-two cancers that have not spread outside the prostate are good candidates for brachytherapy.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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