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Prostate Cancer
Treatment Guide™

Treatment
Description
Prostate Cancer
Patient Profile
Prostate Cancer
Treatments
Prostate Cancer
Survival Rates
Prostate Cancer
Side Effects

Radiation
Therapy

Prostate Radiation Therapy

EBRT or electron beam radiation therapy aims external radiation at prostate cancer cells. Prostate Radiation
Therapy

EBRT or electron beam radiation therapy aims external radiation at prostate cancer cells.

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Using Radiation Therapy

Focused versions of EBRT -IMRT and 3D-CRT - are more effective on a small area. IMRT delivers radiation from multiple angles and at higher doses. Using Radiation Therapy

Focused versions of EBRT -IMRT and 3D-CRT - are more effective on a small area. IMRT delivers radiation from multiple angles and at higher doses.

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Radiation Treatment

Radiation therapy generally requires 5 treatments per week over 6-8 weeks. Radiation Treatment

Radiation therapy generally requires 5 treatments per week over 6-8 weeks.

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External Radiation Outcomes

Multiple long- and short-term studies indicate success rates over 85% especially when used with other therapies. External Radiation
Outcomes

Multiple long- and short-term studies indicate success rates over 85% especially when used with other therapies.

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Radiation
Side Effects

May include tiredness, diarrhea, skin irritation, upset stomach, frequent or burning urination, and proctitis. Radiation
Side Effects

May include tiredness, diarrhea, skin irritation, upset stomach, frequent or burning urination, and proctitis.

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Brachytherapy

Chemotherapy

Cryotherapy & Cryosurgery

Hormone
Therapy

Prostatectomy

Robotic Prostatectomy

Watchful
Waiting

Complementary
and
Alternative Medicine

High Intensity
Focused
Ultrasound (HIFU)

Emerging Technologies

 

Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer Patients

Prostate cancer patients who want to pursue radiotherapy, also called external radiation therapy, as their first line monotherapy should have these characteristics:

  • Gleason score of 6 or lower
  • PSA level of 10 or lower
  • Disease confined to the prostate gland
  • No extensive abdominal scar tissue from other surgeries

Not meeting all of these criteria does not eliminate radiotherapy as a prostate cancer treatment option. Read on to see who else is opting for radiotherapy and why. Then speak with a qualified radiation oncologist to see if radiotherapy could be right for you.


Radiotherapy as First Line Monotherapy for Prostate Cancer
The two newer forms of external beam radiation therapy are called IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy) and 3D-CRT (3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy. Radiotherapy is completely non invasive and works by aiming high energy particles at the diseased tissue. IMRT and 3D-CRT as external beam radiation therapy may be a good option for patients who do not want to undergo a more invasive treatment.

Patients who undergo radiotherapy as a prostate cancer treatment should have a Gleason score that is 6 or lower and a PSA score that is 10 or lower. These numbers indicate that the prostate is still localized within the prostate gland. An ideal radiotherapy treatment would eradicate the prostate cancer and leave the surrounding organs and tissues completely untouched. IMRT and 3D-CRT are both prostate cancer treatments that can help a radiation oncologist come close to this ideal. Cancer that has spread outside of the gland either is more difficult to treat adequately or poses greater risk to the surrounding tissue.

Radiotherapy and Patient Age
Prostate cancer patients who are considering brachytherapy, cryotherapy, and radical prostatectomy, may also want to consider radiotherapy as a possible primary monotherapy. Those who do not wish to pursue any type of invasive procedure, even a minimally invasive procedure, may want to consider brachytherapy. If a doctor feels a patient will not be able to tolerate another procedure either due to age or health, the doctor may recommend external beam radiation therapy.

Minimizing Radiation Damage to Healthy Tissue
External radiation therapy, however, may expose healthy tissue of the rectum and bladder to the effects of radiation. If a patient has had previous surgery in the abdominal area, the scar tissue from the surgery will cause the colon and the intestines be exposed to additional radiation. These patients therefore may wish to pursue other types of treatments. Finally, patients who have had radiation treatment to the pelvic area before usually cannot receive radiotherapy again.

Salvage Treatment
After having already received brachytherapy, however, a patient usually does not receive radiotherapy. If brachytherapy fails, radiotherapy is usually not use as a salvage therapy because the prostate gland has been treated with an extremely high and concentrated dose of radiation. It is unlikely that radiotherapy could destroy what brachytherapy failed to destroy. Patients who would otherwise be good candidates for prostate brachytherapy, but suffer from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), may want to consider radiotherapy. Because the urinary side effects associated with brachytherapy are exacerbated by the radioactive seeds, patients with BPH may want to instead consider radiotherapy.

Cryotherapy is sometimes recommended as a salvage treatment for when radiotherapy fails. Unlike brachytherapy, cryotherapy uses freezing temperatures to destroy prostate cancer. Where radiation fails, the different attack method of freezing may succeed. Patients who have advanced stage prostate cancer with bone metastasis may be candidates for radiotherapy. Radiotherapy can help alleviate the pain that is associated with bone metastasis.

Radiotherapy usually cannot destroy high-grade, aggressive cancers by itself. Most treatments for prostate cancer cannot by themselves destroy advanced prostate cancer. If a patient wishes to pursue radiotherapy, he should speak with his doctors about the advantages and disadvantages to his health.

 
 

 
 
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