Prostate Cancer Radiation Treatment

Understanding your prostate cancer treatment options puts you in a position to make an educated and informed decision about what is best for you. Two commonly recommended prostate cancer treatment options are surgery and radiation treatment. Surgery involves removal of the prostate gland and some surrounding tissues and lymph nodes. Radiation treatment involves delivering high energy beams to kill prostate cancer cells.

The goal of radiation treatment for prostate cancer is to deliver enough radiation to kill cancer cells while limiting radiation exposure to other parts of the body. There are two types of radiation treatments:

Brachytherapy or internal radiation. Radioactive sources are placed inside the prostate, usually under general anesthesia. Brachytherapy for prostate cancer can be subdivided into low dose rate and high dose rate categories.

With lose dose rate brachytherapy, radiation seeds are placed in the prostate and slowly release lose dose radiation for several months.

Withhigh dose rate brachytherapy,high dose radiation is delivered to the prostate through a tube or catheter. Radiation delivery only takes a few minutes. Multiple treatment sessions may be recommended.

External beam radiation. The newest type of external beam radiation is intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). A large machine creates radiation and delivers it to the prostate from outside the body. Treatments are usually given five days a week for about eight weeks.

Radiation Treatment Candidates

The best candidates for brachytherapy are usually men who have good urinary function, a small prostate gland, and minimally-aggressive prostate cancer. Men who have poor urinary function, a large prostate gland, and aggressive prostate cancer may experience increased side effects with brachytherapy and thus be better suited for intensity-modulated radiation therapy.

Some men may be candidates for both procedures. This may allow them to make their treatment decision based on what treatment option is most convenient. Brachytherapy can be a one-time, outpatient procedure in which men can usually go back to work the following day. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy does not involve having a procedure. Treatments are given five days a week for about eight weeks.

Prostate cancer radiation treatment may not be the best option for men with inflammatory bowel disease and men who have already undergone radiation treatment to the pelvis.

Treatment Decision

You will never have to make your treatment decision on your own. At RWJBarnabas Health, your cancer specialist will explain all of your options and give you all the information and reassurance you need to make an educated and informed treatment decision.

To contact one of New Jersey’s best prostate cancer specialists call
844-CANCERNJ or 844-226-2376.




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