A prostate tumor is a moving target. Body movement from breathing or coughing and normal movement of the organs within the body can change the location of a tumor between and during radiotherapy treatments. Traditionally, radiation oncologists would expand the treatment area to ensure the moving target is irradiated. However, in doing so, healthy tissue adjacent to or near the prostate may be affected, leading to a high rate of urinary, bowel, and sexual side effects. Calypso GPS for the Body® technology is different. The Calypso 4D localization system uses real-time tumor tracking to keep external radiation focused on the tumor and not surrounding healthy tissue, thereby minimizing side effects, such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Before External Radiation with the Calypso System
Prior to high-dose external beam prostate cancer radiation therapy, patients will undergo a quick outpatient procedure in which three Beacon® electromagnetic transponders are permanently implanted into the prostate. This outpatient procedure is similar in nature to a prostate biopsy. These transponders measure approximately 8mm – smaller than a grain of rice. They are not radioactive and do not emit ionizing radiation into the patient. A planning session (or simulation) may be required in advance of the radiation therapy to define precise location of the prostate and surrounding tissues.
During External Radiation with the Calypso System
On the day of your therapy, you will be positioned on the treatment table and a monitoring device will be placed over your pelvic area. The previously implanted transponders communicate with the Calypso technology during radiation treatment through safe, radiofrequency waves. The transponders work to track the exact location of the prostate. With real-time tracking, if the prostate moves outside the radiation treatment field, the radiation beam is turned off until it is back in the target range. Calypso’s technology allows radiation oncologists to safely deliver the maximum cancer radiation treatments directly to the tumor.
After External Radiation with the Calypso System
Patients who undergo radiation treatments for prostate cancer by way of the Calypso system are not considered radioactive while the Beacon transponders are in the prostate. Consequently, these patients do not need to take any precautions when they are with family, pregnant women, or small children. The basis of the Calypso 4D localization system is to spare surrounding healthy tissue and organs during radiation treatment, which thereby decreases side effects associated with the bladder, rectum, and organs involved in sexual function. Some patients may experience minor or less severe side effects following this procedure. If you have prostate cancer and are interested in pursuing treatment through the Calypso system, speak to your doctor to see if you are an eligible candidate and to learn more information.