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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
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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

IMRT and 3D-CRT are newer versions of EBRT and are non-invasive. Using Radiation Therapy

IMRT and 3D-CRT are newer versions of EBRT and are non-invasive.

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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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Prostate News

Click here for the latest news on Radiation Therapy.Prostate News

Click here for the latest news on Radiation Therapy.

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Radiation Therapy
Videos

Click here to view Radiation Therapy procedures. Radiation Therapy
Videos

Click here to view Radiation Therapy procedures.

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Radiation Therapy
Experiences


Click here to share your Radiation Therapy experiences.Radiation Therapy
Experiencse

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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

 

Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy:
IMRT

IMRT stands for intensity modulated beam radiation therapy and uses the electron beam implemented in both electron beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and 3 dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT). Currently, there are only a few centers in the United States who offer IMRT as a prostate cancer radiation treatment; 3D-CRT is far more popular. Many doctors predict however, that as more long term survival rates measuring biochemical recurrence become available, IMRT will become a more widely available prostate cancer radiation treatment.

Intensity modulated means that the strength of the radiation beam is modified according to the extension of the disease throughout the organ. Those who are familiar with the prostate biopsy, which often returns negative results the first time, know that prostate cancer does not affect the prostate gland uniformly. IMRT takes the patient’s tumor extension into account by using stronger doses of radiation on more affected parts and weaker doses of radiation for the less affected parts. The goal of Intensity Modulated Beam Therapy is to deliver higher levels of irradiation to the cancerous tissue while avoiding the healthy tissue. The result is more effective prostate cancer treatment and increased avoidance of severe radiation therapy side effects.

What makes IMRT a more precise method of prostate cancer radiation therapy?
Both 3D-CRT and IMRT use the CT scan to take 3-dimensional pictures rather than the x-rays and fluoroscopy used in EBRT. In the planning stages of IMRT, the CT scan will take 30 to 40 pictures of the prostate gland and the surrounding tissue. The radiation oncologist uses these images to create a model and outlines the structures that are to be irradiated. The radiation oncologists set the dosage for the malignant tissue and dose limits for the healthy tissue. Using these dosages, the software programs an optimal mode of beam delivery. As treatment starts, the software guides the collimator which divides the beam into small precise slices with accuracy to the millimeter and millisecond. The collimator itself has 360 degrees of access around the patient. The mathematical precision of IMRT allows the highest accuracy available in beam radiation therapy.

What happens during IMRT?
During the planning stages, the patient undergoes a CT scan which takes 30 to 40 pictures of his prostate gland and the neighboring organs. These images are sent to the planning computer where a radiation oncologist outlines the treated area. The planning stage of radiation therapy is the most important because planning allows more precise delivery of radiation.

The patient may have his whole body or just his pelvic region placed in a Styrofoam or foam rubber “cradle” or immobilizing unit. Any movement, even involuntary ones may skew the trajectory of the radiation beam. Though movement is restricted, most patients do not report discomfort. Some patients say that receiving IMRT is like lying down on a table and falling asleep or have x-rays taken. The patient procedure for intensity modulated radiation is similar to those for EBRT and IMRT; click to read more on prostate cancer radiation treatment procedures.

The collimator will rotate completely around the body. The purpose of the rotation is to achieve the best angle for treating a certain point on the prostate gland. The rotation also allows the beam to avoid organs for which the radiation oncologist has listed certain radiation tolerances. The oncologist lists radiation tolerances to give priority for avoidance.

How long does IMRT last?
The actual procedure may not last longer than 15 to 45 minutes. Prostate cancer radiation treatment however will last 5 to 9 weeks and must be received Monday through Friday over those weeks. The length and frequency of this prostate cancer treatment are used to ensure that the disease has been adequately treated. Unfortunately, the extended therapy invariably will end up damaging some healthy tissue which may cause radiation therapy side effects.

 
 
 

 
 
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