Prostate cancer remains the most common cancer diagnosis for men. Prostate cancer develops when abnormal cells in the prostate gland grow more quickly than in a normal prostate forming a malignant tumour.
It is this increase in prostate size which often results in the following symptoms being experienced:
- Increased frequency or difficulty urinating
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Blood in the urine or semen
However early prostate cancer rarely causes such symptoms and screening is an important process in the response to prostate cancer. Please consult your doctor about an appropriate screening program, men over 50 are encouraged to undergo regular screening.
The following are common treatment options for a diagnosis of prostate cancer:
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Watch and wait
- SpaceOAR (Read more)
These options are often used in conjunction with each other on the basis of patient case, specialist opinion and patient preference.
There are a number of radiation therapy treatment options for prostate cancer, external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy (both High Dose and Low Dose).
External Beam Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer
Radiation therapy treatment for prostate cancer is routinely delivered either as the primary treatment option or in follow up to surgery to provide microscopic disease control.
The external beam radiation therapy standard at GenesisCare is to treat prostate cancer patients with Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) or Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT). Both treatment approaches allow for more precise delivery of a higher radiation dose, whilst reducing doses to nearby normal tissue. This translates into higher treatment efficacy and reduced side effects experienced.
Brachytherapy for Prostate Cancer
Prostate brachytherapy involves the delivery of radiation treatment from within the prostate by one of two methods:
- High-Dose Rate (HDR): catheters are temporarily inserted into the prostate and radioactive source stops in planned positions throughout the prostate to achieve prescribed treatment dose.
- Low-Dose Rate (LDR): radioactive seeds are implanted permanently into the prostate gland and deliver the required therapeutic dose over approximately one month. At which time the seeds' radioactivity becomes negligible and they are safe to remain in the prostate.
For certain patients both external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy may be recommended for the treatment of their prostate cancer.