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Advances in treatment of cancer by brachytherapy in kenya, in particular, prostate cancer

Aim: To highlight the developments of treatment of cancer by brachytherapy in Kenya, with particular emphasis on prostate cancer.

Methods and Materials: Currently, different types of cancer can be treated at different institutions. Thyroid cancer was the first brachytherapy treatment by use of I-131 oral solution and now treated with I-131 capsules, reducing the dose burden to the personnel. Other brachytherapy treatments like cervical cancer and esophagus by use of Ir-192 High Dose Rate (HDR) after-loading systems are also available in four institutions. Recent advances of Prostate cancer treatment by LDR I-125 Permanent Seed Implants started at TNH in January/2017 and the relevant patients can now access the service.

Results: We have appreciated increase in the number of prostate cancer patients reaching out for treatment by I-125 Permanent seed implants. When combined with EBRT, the brachytherapy treatment is a boost to better management of the prostate cancer patients. The number of treatment seeds can now be estimated in the pre-planning stage by use of the proposed equation for the Number of Seeds versus the Prostate volume realized for the 36 patients already treated.

Conclusion: Treatment of cancer by brachytherapy here in Kenya started in 1970’s and has now developed well in line with the development of the country. In particular, prostate cancer which is the most prevalent male cancer in Kenya, can now be treated by Ultrasound Guided Low Dose-Rate brachytherapy using I-125 Permanent Seed implants. This has tremendously improved the management of prostate cancer patients in this region and the Number of the Seed Implants can now be estimated by use of the proposed equation, y=1.2x+15, relating the Number of Seeds (y) used for treatment and the patient’s Prostate Volume (x).


Ndonye Philip Kioko

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