Patient Story

Treating prostate cancer with precision
Donald and Kay Mueller
Donald and Kay Mueller


Gundersen’s Radiation Oncology and Urology team has performed more than 1,000 radiation seed implants, and have excellent outcomes. They are the most experienced team in the Tri-state Region—an important factor when  considering treatment options.

When Donald Mueller visited his doctor, Wayne Kelly, MD, at Winona Health for a routine appointment, Dr. Kelly suggested he also have a couple of blood tests because it had been awhile. One of those tests was a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test—a blood test that can signal prostate problems, including prostate cancer.

“The results of the PSA were pretty high, and my numbers had gone up since the last time I’d had it done,” the 67-year-old recalls.

His doctor wanted him to see Gundersen Health System urologist Joseph Endrizzi, MD, who travels to Winona once a week to provide outreach services to patients closer to home. Dr. Endrizzi performed a biopsy, which revealed Donald had prostate cancer.

Fortunately, the cancer was in its early stages. “Dr. Endrizzi explained that there were a lot of treatment options for me to choose from, including surgery to remove my prostate, radiation from the outside or radioactive seed implants,” Donald shares.

Like many men, Donald was concerned about side effects such as incontinence (not being able to control the bladder) and impotence.

“Radiation seed therapy, which is also known as brachytherapy, is an excellent option for many men with low-risk prostate cancer. It is a minimally invasive procedure with low rates of complications like incontinence, which make it an appealing option to patients like Donald,” says Gundersen radiation oncologist Collin Driscoll, MD.

He went on to say, “The patient is asleep during the procedure, and we use ultrasound to precisely insert around 100 seeds directly into the prostate through needles. Each seed is about the size of a grain of rice. There’s no incision so men are generally back to normal activities within 48 hours. The long-term results we’ve seen at Gundersen are excellent.”

After talking over the pros and cons of each treatment with his wife and his doctors, he decided radiation seed therapy was the right choice for him.

“It was virtually painless. After I had the seeds put in, there was a burning sensation for the first month or so when I used the bathroom, but that went away with time,” Donald assures. “Everything seems to be on the right track today. I’m glad I chose radiation seed implants. It was the right choice for me.”

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