Earlier this month, a team Minnesota Oncology’s St. Paul Cancer Center reached a milestone in local cancer treatment by performing the Twin Cities' first prostate high dose radiation (HDR) treatment.

Minnesota Oncology is the only site performing prostate HDR in the Twin Cities metro area.  HDR brachytherapy is used for prostate cancer that is still in the prostate gland and for cancer that has grown minimally into the surrounding tissues. HDR brachytherapy is not used when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

“This is an excellent treatment option for patients, and we are proud to be able to provide this service,” said Ryan Funk, MD, radiation oncologist at Minnesota Oncology.

Dr. Funk leads the Radiation Oncology team in performing this procedure.  He works with Minnesota Urology Urologist Aaron Millbank, MD, and together as a team, they place needles into the prostate to deliver high dose radiation directly to the prostate and the surrounding area. This type of treatment is very precise, requiring the patient to be under anesthesia to maintain the placement of the needles.  The treatments take minutes, but the preparation and planning makes the overall procedure longer.

Preparations for making this treatment available were extensive. The vault for the HDR brachytherapy procedures is an 80,000-pound vault. In addition, anesthesia services provided by Associated Anesthesiologists, P.A., (AAPA) are included in the procedures, and accommodations for this service were added at Minnesota Oncology.

Minnesota Oncology would like the thank the following team who have worked to make these treatments available in the Twin Cities.,

  • Michelle Quast: Director of Operations - Minnesota Oncology
  • Sarah Meyers:  Radiation RN - Minnesota Oncology
  • Julie Tyren:  former SPCC Practice Administrator - Minnesota Oncology
  • Mustafa Ozer and John Miller:  Physicists - Minnesota Oncology
  • Paul Forsberg:  Director, Pharmacy and Admix - Minnesota Oncology
  • Our anesthesia partners at AAPA
  • Our urology partners at MN Urology and specifically Dr. Millbank
  • Lisa Hewitt:  Procurement Agent - Minnesota Oncology
  • Jeff Uzpen:  Chief Radiation Therapist - Minnesota Oncology
  • Dr. Ryan Funk: Radiation Oncologist - Minnesota Oncology

If you would like to learn more about Prostate HDR treatment at Minnesota Oncology, please contact our St. Paul Cancer Center to schedule an appointment:.