Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in American men, with a majority of cases appearing in males over the age of 65. Prostate Cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in men, behind skin cancer.1
As with many different forms of cancer, medical professionals will typically recommend a treatment plan with one treatment method or a combination of treatment methods. For men diagnosed with prostate cancer, the most common treatment options are radiation therapy, active surveillance, and surgery (prostatectomy). Additional prostate cancer treatments may include hormone therapy, chemotherapy, cryotherapy and immunotherapy. Radiation therapy is usually delivered in targeted, high doses to aggressively attack the cancer and destroy it as quickly as possible before it spreads to other areas of the prostate or body. Radiation therapy is extremely effective in targeting and treating prostate cancer, but as with any procedure there are potential side effects.
Types of Radiation Treatment
There are a few different types of radiation therapy used in the treatment of prostate cancer, including external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), internal radiation (brachytherapy), and proton beam therapy.
External radiation (or external beam radiation therapy – EBRT) uses a machine that directs high-energy rays (or photons) from outside of the body into the tumor. Most patients get external radiation therapy over many weeks, during outpatient visits to a hospital or treatment center.
Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) uses advanced imaging techniques to deliver extremely precise, very intense doses of radiation to the prostate (usually in up to five treatments over a period of days).
Internal radiation, also called brachytherapy, involves putting a radioactive source inside the body into or near the tumor.
Proton beam therapy uses proton particles in lieu of x-rays or photons.
Side Effects of Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is extremely effective in targeting and treating prostate cancer, but as with any procedure there are potential side effects. These side effects can be mild and go away on their own, but for some patients they can last for years after treatment is completed and can have a negative impact on quality of life. Side effects can include:
- Rectal pain and bleeding
- Chronic diarrhea
- Fecal incontinence
- Urinary urgency and leakage
- Erectile dysfunction
SpaceOAR™ Hydrogel with Radiation Therapy
SpaceOAR Hydrogel is an FDA-cleared absorbable hydrogel that temporarily creates space between the prostate and the rectum, reducing the radiation dose delivered to the rectum during prostate radiation therapy. By acting as a spacer, the hydrogel temporarily moves the rectum a half inch (1.3 cm) away from the prostate. By separating the prostate from the rectum, SpaceOAR Hydrogel reduces the radiation dose delivered to the rectum and may eliminate or decrease damage to the rectum and surrounding tissue.2
SpaceOAR Hydrogel is a minimally invasive pretreatment option for patients undergoing prostate radiation treatment and is used by leading physicians and cancer centers around the world.3
1. Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Accessed February 20, 2020.
2. Mariados N, Sylvester J, Shah D, et al. Hydrogel spacer prospective multicenter randomized controlled pivotal trial: Dosimetric and clinical effects of perirectal spacer application in men undergoing prostate image guided intensity modulated radiation therapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015 Aug 1;92(5):971-7.
3. Data on file with Boston Scientific.
View important safety information here. Caution: U.S. Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician. Results from case studies are not necessarily predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.
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