From an article by
Dr. Larry Grubb
McLeod Regional Medical Center Radiation Oncology
Using advances in radiation therapy, treatment time for prostate cancer patients can be cut in half.
“We treat prostate cancer using Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) to more precisely deliver a radiation dose directly to the prostate, minimizing harm to the surrounding organs,” says McLeod Radiation Oncologist Dr. Larry Grubb. “In addition, IMRT has been shown to be beneficial in reducing long-term side effects of prostate cancer.”
Another innovation in prostate cancer treatment involves delivering the radiation doses in larger, more powerful portions (fractions) over fewer treatment visits. This “hypofractionated” treatment offers the same survival and risk of toxicity as traditional radiation. Yet, the amount of time a patient needs to undergo treatment is considerably shorter, and the patient’s quality of life is not compromised.
Conventional prostate cancer radiation treatments involve 40-44 or 25 days of treatment, plus a radioactive seed implant performed in an operating room. With hypofractionation, the patient treatments are cut to 20-28 days or 5 weeks compared to 9 weeks for traditional radiation treatment.
Using Truebeam linear accelerators and advanced imaging capabilities, such as those available at McLeod Regional Medical Center, treatment time can be cut to 5 minutes down from 15-20 minutes. Radiation can also be conformed to the shape of the tumor and the team can make adjustments during treatment.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
There is no single treatment option that is better for all men. The most appropriate treatment for prostate cancer should be based on the man’s age, life expectancy, other medical problems, as well as the stage and aggressiveness of the cancer.
If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer have a thorough discussion with your physician on the treatment options available. Then, together you can decide which option is best suited for you.
Have a question? Ask a Cancer Expert.