Sunday, March 3, 2024

After Radiation For Prostate Cancer

What Happens At A Follow

PSA After Radiation | Ask a Prostate Expert, Mark Scholz, MD

Discussion with your doctor or nurse

At each appointment, your doctor or nurse will ask how youve been since your last appointment.

Tell them about any symptoms or treatment side effects youve had, as well as any other problems or concerns. You can tell them how you are feeling emotionally as well as physically. You can also discuss any practical problems you might have, such as problems at work or with day-to-day activities. You may be given a questionnaire about your physical, social, emotional and practical needs. You might hear this called a holistic needs assessment form.

Your GP or hospital doctor or nurse can help you deal with side effects, or refer you to someone else who can. For example, if you have problems with leaking urine , they might refer you to a continence service. Or if you have problems getting or keeping erections , they can refer you to an erectile dysfunction service. They can also help you get support for emotional problems, such as feeling anxious or depressed, and practical problems, such as managing your finances.

You might feel embarrassed talking about some of the side effects of treatments, such as erection problems. But remember doctors and nurses see people with these problems every day, so be as open as you can. They are there to help.

PSA test

You may be asked to avoid any vigorous exercise or ejaculating in the 48 hours before a PSA test, as this could cause a temporary rise in your PSA level.

Active Surveillance And Watchful Waiting

If prostate cancer is in an early stage, is growing slowly, and treating the cancer would cause more problems than the disease itself, a doctor may recommend active surveillance or watchful waiting.

Active surveillance. Prostate cancer treatments may seriously affect a persons quality of life. These treatments can cause side effects, such as erectile dysfunction, which is when someone is unable to get and maintain an erection, and incontinence, which is when a person cannot control their urine flow or bowel function. In addition, many prostate cancers grow slowly and cause no symptoms or problems. For this reason, many people may consider delaying cancer treatment rather than starting treatment right away. This is called active surveillance. During active surveillance, the cancer is closely monitored for signs that it is worsening. If the cancer is found to be worsening, treatment will begin.

ASCO encourages the following testing schedule for active surveillance:

  • A PSA test every 3 to 6 months

  • A DRE at least once every year

  • Another prostate biopsy within 6 to 12 months, then a biopsy at least every 2 to 5 years

Treatment should begin if the results of the tests done during active surveillance show signs of the cancer becoming more aggressive or spreading, if the cancer causes pain, or if the cancer blocks the urinary tract.

What Types Of Testing Should I Expect For Monitoring My Condition

Since metastatic prostate cancer isnt curable, your doctor will most likely set up regular visits to check the cancers location, and to manage any long-term side effects from the cancer or any medication youre taking.

And since treatments for advanced prostate cancer are changing so fast and need to be given in a certain sequence to be the most effective, youll probably have not only a prostate cancer doctor but other specialists taking care of you. Your care team should coordinate closely, say the authors of a major study of such teams published in August 2015 in the journal Annals of Oncology.

Along with regularly testing your prostate-specific antigen levels, your care team may request blood tests that measure such prostate cancer indicators as alkaline phosphatase and lactate dehydrogenase. Magnetic resonance imaging or PET scans of the spine or other bones can also help identify how your cancer responds to treatment.

If youve had radiation, youre at an increased risk for bladder and colorectal cancer and should get screened regularly for these as well.

The tests youll have and how often youll need them should be customized to you. Your care team will consider your overall health, medications that are safe for you to take, other health conditions you might have, and what stage your cancer was when you were diagnosed.

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Urinary Dysfunction After Prostate Cancer Treatment

The term urinary dysfunction includes:

  • Urinary incontinence, which can range from some leaking to complete loss of bladder control

  • Irritative voiding symptoms or urinary bother, including increased urinary frequency, urgency, and pain upon urination

Bladder obstruction caused by an enlarged prostate is the typical reason for these symptoms initially. However, after therapy, they are typically caused by damage to the nerves and muscles used in urinary control.

Salvage Androgen Ablation Therapy

Locally Recurrent Prostate Cancer after External Beam Radiation Therapy ...

Hormonal manipulation is likely to be the therapy most commonly administered to patients with recurrent prostate cancer and yet it has been the least well studied to date. A total of 54% of urologists and radiation oncologists in one study recommended androgen ablation or observation with delayed androgen ablation for patients with recurrent prostate cancer.22 Certainly, androgen ablation is not a curative intervention, and therefore the optimal timing of its application is uncertain. The cancer-specific survival after androgen ablation administered upon identification of local-only recurrence in one series of 72 patients was 70 and 84 months.23 Although this relatively short survival may be a reflection of the advanced stage of disease of these patients or the intrinsic response rate of prostate cancer to hormonal therapy, the more morbid attempts at salvage therapy, such as radical prostatectomy, cryoablation, and brachytherapy, should demonstrate improved survival beyond that of androgen ablation in order to be reasonably administered to patients with recurrent prostate cancer.

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Possible Side Effects Of Radiation Treatment For Prostate Cancer

The radiation used to destroy cancer cells can also hurt normal cells in the nearby area. Side effects from radiation treatment are related to the area of the body being treated. Patients start to have side effects a few weeks into their treatment. While side effects may be unpleasant, there are treatments to help deal with them. Most side effects are temporary and slowly start to go away once treatment is done.

You will be seen by your radiation oncology providers often during treatment. These visits are a chance to ask questions and to talk about any side effects and how to best manage them. You can also call your providers to speak about any side effects.

How Does Radiotherapy Treatment Work

Radiation therapy works by use of high doses of radiation to kill or slow down its growth rate. In prostate cancer treatment it is used to kill the cancerous cells or slow the growth rate. It also kills the nearby healthy cells as it kills the cancerous cells.

Where curing the cancer is impossible, radiotherapy is used to reduce the symptoms such as pain caused by cancer tumor. It can also be used to prevent the problems that result from cancer tumor such as loss of bowel and bladder control, blindness etc.

*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

Here are different types of radiations and how they work:

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Do We Know Which Treatment Is Best For Prostate Cancer Brachytherapy Or External Beam Radiation

Its not a question of which type of radiation therapy is best in general, but rather which therapy is best for the patients specific disease and quality-of-life concerns. We want to use the most tailored, pinpointed radiation to treat the prostate tumor effectively while minimizing side effects. This can depend on the tumors size and stage as well as other patient characteristics and even a patients individual preferences.

How You Might Feel

What to Expect after Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer

Being diagnosed with prostate cancer can be stressful. It is natural to have a wide variety of emotions after the diagnosis and during treatment, including anger, fear anxiety, sadness and resentment. These feelings may become stronger over time as you adjust to the physical side effects of treatment.

Everyone has their own ways of coping with their emotions. There is no right or wrong way. It is important to give yourself and those around you time to deal with the emotions that cancer can cause. For support, call Cancer Council 13 11 20.

If you have continued feelings of sadness, have trouble getting up in the morning or have lost motivation to do things that previously gave you pleasure, you may be experiencing depression. This is quite common among people who have had cancer.

If you think you may be depressed or feel that your emotions are affecting your day-to-day life, talk to your GP. Counselling or medication even for a short time may help. Some people can get a Medicare rebate for sessions with a psychologist. Cancer Council may also run a counselling program in your area.

For information about coping with depression and anxiety, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. For 24-hour crisis support, call Lifeline 13 11 14.

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External Beam Radiation Therapy

In EBRT, beams of radiation are focused on the prostate gland from a machine outside the body. This type of radiation can be used to try to cure earlier stage cancers, or to help relieve symptoms such as bone pain if the cancer has spread to a specific area of bone.

You will usually go for treatment 5 days a week in an outpatient center for at least several weeks, depending on why the radiation is being given. Each treatment is much like getting an x-ray. The radiation is stronger than that used for an x-ray, but the procedure typically is painless. Each treatment lasts only a few minutes, although the setup time getting you into place for treatment takes longer.

Newer EBRT techniques focus the radiation more precisely on the tumor. This lets doctors give higher doses of radiation to the tumor while reducing the radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissues.

Physical Emotional And Social Effects Of Cancer

Cancer and its treatment cause physical symptoms and side effects, as well as emotional, social, and financial effects. Managing all of these effects is called palliative care or supportive care. It is an important part of your care that is included along with treatments intended to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer.

Palliative care focuses on improving how you feel during treatment by managing symptoms and supporting patients and their families with other, non-medical needs. Any person, regardless of age or type and stage of cancer, may receive this type of care. And it often works best when it is started right after a cancer diagnosis. People who receive palliative care along with treatment for the cancer often have less severe symptoms, better quality of life, and report that they are more satisfied with treatment.

Palliative treatments vary widely and often include medication, nutritional changes, relaxation techniques, emotional and spiritual support, and other therapies. You may also receive palliative treatments similar to those meant to get rid of the cancer, such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy.

Learn more about the importance of tracking side effects in another part of this guide. Learn more about palliative care in a separate section of this website.

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Analysis Of Missing Data

Table shows the reasons for nonresponse to the 5-year survey by treatment group. Overall, statistically significantly fewer men in the external beam radiotherapy group than in the radical prostatectomy group completed the 5-year survey . However, differences between treatment groups in the specific reasons for nonresponse were relatively small for example, 7% of radical prostatectomy patients had died compared with 11% of external beam radiotherapy patients. Refusal was the leading reason for nonresponse.

We further evaluated the possible effects of differential response levels by age at diagnosis on our reported outcomes by performing a last value forward analysis on urinary, bowel, sexual, and general health outcomes. We used data from the 2-year survey or from the 12- or 6-month surveys to estimate outcomes at 5 years after diagnosis. The impact of estimating outcomes on the reported comparisons was negligible.

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How To Decide Between Radiation And Surgery For Localized Prostate Cancer

Focal Salvage High Dose

This page adheres to our medical and editorial policy and guidelines.

If youre like most men whove been diagnosed with prostate cancer, youve been told you have early-stage, localized prostate cancer, meaning the disease hasnt spread beyond the prostate. You may have also been told that you have choices about what you want to do next.

Unless your cancer is aggressive, youve probably been presented with three treatment options:

  • Active surveillance: Oncologists use this method for less aggressive prostate cancer. Your care team will runs test periodically to evaluate whether the cancer has progressed. If so, they may recommend additional treatment.
  • Radiation therapy: This treatment uses targeted radioactive energy to reduce tumor size, destroy cancer cells and alleviate some cancer-related symptoms.
  • Surgery: Typically, this involves a procedure called a prostatectomy, which removes the prostate and surrounding cancer cells.

If you arent comfortable with active surveillance , or if your oncologist says it isnt the right option for you, you may have to decide between radiation therapy and surgery to treat your cancer.

Many men want to know whats the best treatment for their localized prostate cancer. But its a misconception that you have only one better or safer choice. In most cases, either radiation therapy or surgery is an equally good choice when we look at long-term survival.

To help you through the process of making this decision, this article covers:

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What Is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy And What Advantages Does It Offer

Stereotactic body radiation therapy, or SBRT, involves the use of sophisticated image guidance that pinpoints the exact three-dimensional location of a tumor so the radiation can be more precisely delivered to cancer cells. Traditionally, external beam radiation has been delivered in anywhere from 45-48 sessions over multiple weeks. But large, randomized studies have shown that shorter courses of radiation are just as safe and effective. Therefore, at MSK, we have shortened all our radiation courses.

There is increasing interest in giving this radiation in very short courses of treatment using intense radiation doses, called hypofractionated radiation therapy. Many of the people we care for have a type of radiation therapy called MSK PreciseTM. This is a hypofractionated form of SBRT that can be given in five sessions. MSK has been doing this for the past 20 years, and the results in the several hundred people whove been treated have been excellent so far. The treatment is very well tolerated and quite effective

Because of its superior precision, MSK Precise can have fewer side effects than more conventional radiation techniques, with extremely low rates of incontinence and rectal problems. The sexual side effects are low, similar to what is experienced with more extended external radiation techniques. And of course, its much more convenient for patients.

Are There Any New Developments In Treating My Disease

Doctors often successfully treat prostate cancer. Sometimes, however, the disease returns . An FDA-approved radiotracer for PET/CT called Axumin® helps detect and locate cancer that recurs following radiation therapy or surgery.

Conventional imaging, such as MRI or ultrasound, cannot locate recurring prostate cancer when it is small. PET/CT with Axumin® can detect recurring cancer when PSA levels are low and when the cancer is small.

Identifying the exact location and extent of the disease at an early stage is vital. It allows doctors to specifically target the cancer and limit exposure to healthy tissues.

Prostate-specific membrane antigen is a protein that helps develop prostate cancer. A PSMA scan uses PET imaging and a radiotracer to locate recurrent cancer. Doctors are studying Lutetium-177 PSMA therapy in clinical trials for use in treating prostate cancer. Neither of these procedures has FDA approval yet.

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What Can Be Done

If your prostate cancer has recurred, your healthcare provider will likely order some imaging tests to better determine where in your body the cancer has returned. Bone scans, CT scans, and MRIs are the most common tests ordered to find where in the body prostate cancer has recurred.

Many treatment options are available for prostate cancer that has returned. The one that you and your healthcare provider choose depends on individual factors such as what treatment you have already received, where in the body your prostate cancer has returned, how your cancer has spread, your general health, and your age.

If your prostate cancer is thought to have recurred in only a small area and has not spread to other areas of the body, then radiation therapy to that area may be an option.

If your prostate cancer has most likely spread to multiple areas of the body, then hormonal therapy would likely be an option. Chemotherapy can also be used when the cancer has spread to multiple sites.

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Other Key Findings In The Study

How Radiation Affects The Prostate | Mark Scholz, MD

Patients who had lower PSA scores:

  • Experienced an eight-year disease-free survival rate of 75 percent, compared with only 18 percent for those with the highest PSA scores.
  • Had a 97 percent distant metastasis-free survival rate, compared with 73 percent for those with the highest PSA scores.

However, the study also indicated that, when a PSA is falling, there is no specific number that predicts future survivability.

While there is no magic number for the PSA that guarantees that prostate cancer has been cured in an individual patient, in general, the lower the PSA number, the better chances that the cancer will not return or spread, said Michael E. Ray, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

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