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Advancements in Radiation Therapy to treat Prostate Cancer

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By Dr. Sridhar PS, Radiation Oncologist

Radiation therapy also termed radiotherapy is a highly effective cancer treatment with a broad spectrum of uses. Radiation therapy supports to cure of cancer in patients either singly or combined with other treatments. Also, it eases symptoms, extends the survival period in more advanced forms of cancers, and proven treatment mode for nearly most types of cancer.

Radiation therapy is a keenly targeted treatment precisely regulating cancer wherever it may be in the body. This lets the cancer cells be killed or reduced in number while safeguarding most of the healthy organs and tissues in the body. It is a cost-effective treatment mode provided as out-patient treatment, where people can get it done in a short time and continue their normal activities.

For most common cancers like breast cancer, bowel cancer, uterine cancer, skin cancer, and prostate cancer radiation therapy is highly effective in decreasing the risk of cancer recurrence if given either before or after surgery. While in some cancers like prostate, head, neck, bladder, lung, cervix, skin cancers & brain tumour, radiation therapy is offered with or without drug therapy, and it can be used as a key curative treatment, thus avoiding the risks of surgery and removal of organs.

Latest advancements in technology in radiotherapy have better quality of life of cancer patients. By delivering the therapy quicker, more precisely, and effectively.

Types of Radiation

·       External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)

(I)Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

(II)Image-guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

(III)Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) with robotic radiotherapy devices such as CyberKnife

·       Brachytherapy

·       Proton Beam Therapy

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is cancer that develops in the prostate gland, a small walnut-shaped organ in males, which is responsible for semen production, which strengthens and transports sperm. Most prostate cancers spread very slowly and are confined to the prostate gland, without causing any serious damage. However, a few other types are very aggressive and can spread quickly, thus requiring prompt medical management.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer does not cause any signs or symptoms in its initial stages. As the cancer advances it may cause signs and symptoms such as

1.     Trouble urinating

2.     Decreased force in the flow of urine

3.     Blood in the urine

4.     Blood in the semen

5.     Bone pain

6.     Sudden weight loss

7.     Erectile dysfunction

How Radiation Therapy Help Treat Prostate Cancer:

Radiation therapy is a highly potent treatment that kills prostate cancer cells by employing high-energy rays or particles. Radiation therapy can be offered in various means, including brachytherapy (using seeds that are implanted in the patient’s body) and external beam radiation that sends energy via the skin.

Radiation therapy can be used as an alternative to surgeries and can be used as a primary treatment option for prostate cancer that is in its early stages. It can be highly beneficial for Stage IV locally advanced cancers or recurrent forms of prostate cancer as well.

Robotic radiotherapy such as CyberKnife can be effective for the treatment of prostate cancer as these devices have good control and least side effects.

Radiation therapy can cure both early-stage cancers of the prostate gland and more advanced ones that may have metastasize beyond the prostate. It can be used alone or with other treatments like hormone deprivation and chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy can treat men with oligometastatic (limited spreading) prostate cancer to lower the tumour size and enhance survival and quality of life. It can treat recurrent prostate cancer following surgery, and after radiation slow cancer growth, and reduce the risk of fracture. Furthermore, radiation therapy can be used as a palliative option to ease pain from advanced cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. It usually grows very slowly, hence diagnosing and treating it early before symptoms advance may help improve health and longevity.

If you face any pain or symptoms pertaining to prostate cancer consult a medical professional immediately. It’s always advisable to get a PSA screening test done annually, particularly for individuals with a family history of cancer and the one’s above 50 years of age.

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