Pa. governor’s cancer to be treated with radioactive seeds
HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says he will have radioactive seeds implanted to treat what he calls a treatable form of prostate cancer he first disclosed last month.
The 67-year-old Wolf discussed the treatment Wednesday during an appearance on WITF-FM radio in Harrisburg.
Wolf revealed in February that the cancer was detected early by his doctors, but he didn’t give details at the time about how it would be treated.
Wolf has said it wouldn’t impair his ability to perform his duties as governor, and he’s since kept up a brisk schedule of public appearances.
The Democrat took office in January 2015. He says the cancer was detected during a routine checkup.
He says his blood levels of PSA protein, or prostate specific antigen, had been rising for years.
Men should talk with their doctors about which prostate treatment option is best for them, Dr. Gregory Fortier, radiation oncologist with WellSpan York Hospital Cancer Center, said last month after Wolf announced his diagnosis.
Radioactive seeds, or brachytherapy, is the easiest option for some, he said.
The seeds are implanted at the top side of the prostate gland near the bladder, using a series of 16 to 18 needles are used to implant the seeds, according to Fortier. The needles are about 20 centimeters long and can contain anywhere from two to five seeds in the end of each. A 3-D image is made of the man’s prostate through a CT scan and MRI.
“We use a machine to make a grid and use that to place the seeds in surgery,” Fortier said. “The rectum has an ultrasound probe to help guide us. We’ve already programmed the image of their prostate into the machine, and then we hit the end of the needle to place the seeds.”
Most men are back to work within a day of the procedure.