What Should Patients Know About Msks Approach To Treating Prostate Cancer
At MSK, we manage prostate cancer in a very comprehensive way, tailored to each patients disease. There is no one specific therapy that is best for everyone.
Our initial assessment includes a carefully evaluated biopsy and a very detailed MRI to show the location of the disease, the integrity or soundness of the capsule surrounding the prostate, and the amount of disease. We will often obtain next-generation imaging and do genomic testing. Then, based on that information and with input from the urologist, the radiation oncologist, and the medical oncologist we can provide a comprehensive recommendation.
The radiotherapy we do here at MSK is state-of-the-art and unparalleled. We are one of the few centers in the world to do MRI-based treatment planning and one of the few centers in the US to offer MRI-guided treatment. When we give brachytherapy, we use computer software that provides us with real-time information about the quality and accuracy of the seed implant during the procedure. It requires a great deal of collaboration with our medical physics team to try to get the most accurate positioning of the prostate during the actual three or four minutes of the treatment.
We make adjustments while the patient is still under anesthesia, so that when the procedure is completed, we have been able to achieve ideal placement of the radiation seeds. This translates into improved outcomes.
How Spaceoar Hydrogel Fits Into The Treatment Options
SpaceOAR Hydrogel, a minimally invasive pre-treatment option for men undergoing prostate cancer radiation therapy, is an absorbable gel that temporarily creates space between the prostate and rectum, designed to reduce the radiation dose delivered to the rectum during prostate cancer radiation therapy. The reduction in radiation exposure lowers a patients chance of developing late rectal complications, helping them maintain their quality of life.4
SpaceOAR Hydrogel is made up of two liquids that are mostly water and PEG, a material that is commonly used in other medical implants in the eye, brain and spine. SpaceOAR Hydrogel is biocompatible, biodegradable and naturally excreted through urine in 6 months.
*Other treatment options include chemotherapy, vaccine treatment, cryotherapy and hormone therapy.
Online Support Groups For Prostate Cancer
- Us TOO. This organization has more than 200 support groups in the United States and abroad.
- Prostate Cancer Research Institute. This website allows you to search for support groups by state.
- Cancer Care. This site offers 15-week online support groups for people diagnosed with prostate cancer. Co-sponsored by the National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions.
- Male Care. This organization offers online support groups for people with prostate cancer and their partners or caregivers.
- Imerman Angels. This support community offers one-on-one support with a mentor.
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When Is Radiation Therapy Used
There are some instances where the practitioners opt for radiotherapy for prostate cancer as opposed to other forms of treatment. Here are some of the situations in which radiation therapy may be used:
- As the first treatment of cancer, which is still confined to the prostate gland.
- It is used along with hormone therapy during the first treatment for prostate cancer that has extended the nearby tissues.
- After the reoccurrence of cancer in the area, it was before surgery.
- To keep cancer under control and relieve you from the symptoms for as long as possible if the cancer is advanced.
The Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy For Prostate Cancer
There are a few side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, like diarrhea and passing urine regularly.
These side effects often occur after one or two weeks of starting RT. The symptoms can worsen during treatment and after the treatment ends. But you can feel relief after two weeks of treatment.
The side effects that occur in one person may not come in another person. They can vary from person to person. The possible side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer are as follows:
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Vitamins And Dietary Supplements
Its OK to take a multivitamin during your radiation therapy, but dont take more than the recommended daily allowance of any vitamin or mineral.
Dont take any other dietary supplements without talking with a member of your radiation therapy team. This includes vitamins, minerals, and herbal or botanical remedies.
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Radiation Therapy In Advanced Disease:
Some forms of radiation therapy, like external radiation therapy and radiopharmaceuticals, can help with advanced prostate cancer. One type of external radiation therapy is used along with hormone therapy to treat cancer that has spread outside the prostate to nearby tissue. In addition, radiopharmaceuticals are used to manage pain and symptoms of bone metastases. Scroll down to learn more about radiopharmaceuticals.
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Are There Side Effects Of The Combination Approach To Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy
When it comes to early stages of disease, patients very frequently do well with either brachytherapy or external beam radiation. Success rates of around 90% or higher can be achieved with either approach. When the disease is somewhat more advanced based on the PSA level, Gleason score, extent of visible disease on magnetic resonance imaging we have learned over the years that higher doses of radiation are critical to achieving better results. Some evidence, including a large trial, suggests that for patients with intermediate- or high-risk prostate cancer, a combined approach using brachytherapy along with external beam radiation may be best compared to standard dose external beam radiation therapy alone.
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What Is A Late Effect
A late effect is a side effect related to a cancer diagnosis or treatment that happens months to years after treatment. Some side effects that you develop during treatment can last for months to years after treatment is completed . These are often called long term side effects.
Late effects can be health issues or psychological, emotional and practical challenges.
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How We Approach Prostate Cancer Treatment At Ctca
When you come to CTCA for a diagnostic consultation or second opinion, your case is reviewed by a multidisciplinary team of genitourinary cancer experts before you arrive for your first appointment. This team may include a medical oncologist, a urologist or urologic oncologist and a radiation oncologist.
If we determine you need additional diagnostic evaluations, such as imaging or genomic testing, we schedule those procedures for you before your arrival.
Together, we develop a treatment plan thats based on your unique needsusually within two to three days. Our goal is to give you and your caregivers a clear understanding of your options to empower you to make an informed decision about your care.
At CTCA, we strive to treat our patients as we would want our own loved ones to be treated: with compassion, dignity and respect. Its the basis of our foundation, and we call it the Mother StandardÂ® of care.
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How Long Does External Radiation Treatment Take
In most cases the total dose of radiation needed to kill a tumor cant be given all at once. This is because a large dose given one time can cause more damage to nearby normal tissues. This can cause more side effects than giving the same dose over spread out over days or weeks into many treatments.
The total dose of external radiation therapy is usually divided into smaller doses called fractions. Most patients get radiation treatments daily, 5 days a week for 5 to 8 weeks. Weekend rest breaks allow time for normal cells to recover. The total dose of radiation and the number of treatments is based on:
- The size and location of the cancer
- The type of cancer
- The reason for the treatment
- Your general health
- Any other treatments youre getting
Other radiation schedules might be used in certain cases. For instance, radiation therapy might last only a few weeks when its used to relieve symptoms, because the overall dose of radiation needed is lower. In some cases, radiation might be given as 2 or more treatments each day. Or you might have several weeks off in the middle of treatments so your body can recover while the cancer shrinks. Your doctor will talk to you about the best plan in your case.
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Are There Side Effects With Imrt
Yes, there can be side effects or unwanted changes in your body when you have IMRT. Side effects are different from person to person. Some people have no or very mild side effects. Some have bothersome side effects that may last for only a short period of time. Other men may have side effects that last for a longer period of time or forever. Some side effects occur within days or weeks of your treatment and others may not happen for six or more months after your treatment.
The side effects that you have depend on:
- The radiation dose you get during your prostate cancer treatment, and
- Your general health
Before beginning your treatment, your doctor and health care team will talk with you about the side effects you might have, how long they might last, and what you can do to help make them better.
The good news is that most side effects will go away in time. When you do have side effects, there are ways to make you feel better. If you have a side effect that is really bad, your doctor may stop your radiation therapy for a short time or change your treatment in some way. Be sure to tell your doctor or health care team about any side effects that you have. They can help you treat the problems and tell you how to lower the chances that the side effects will come back.
What Can I Do To Take Care Of Myself During Imrt
Each persons body responds to radiation therapy in its own way. That’s why your doctor must plan, and sometimes change, your treatment. During radiation therapy, you need to take special care of yourself to protect your health and to help your treatment succeed.
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What Does External Beam Radiotherapy Involve
You will have your treatment at a hospital radiotherapy department. Youll see a specialist doctor who treats cancer with radiotherapy, known as a clinical oncologist. You may also see a specialist nurse and a specialist radiographer. Theyll talk to you about your treatment plan and ways to manage any side effects.
Before your radiotherapy treatment
Radiotherapy planning session
A week or two before your treatment, youll have a planning session. This is to make sure the radiographers know the exact position, size and shape of your prostate. It will help them make sure the radiotherapy is aimed at your prostate and that the surrounding areas get as little radiation as possible.
During your radiotherapy treatment
You will have one treatment at the hospital five days a week, with a rest over the weekend. You can go home after each treatment.
If you have localised prostate cancer, the course of radiotherapy usually involves 20 treatment sessions over four weeks. You might hear this called hypo-fractionated radiotherapy.
At some hospitals, youll have 37 sessions over seven or eight weeks instead. If you have 37 sessions, youll receive a slightly larger overall dose of radiotherapy but the dose you receive at each session will be lower than if you have 20 sessions.
Its safe for you to be around other people, including children and pregnant women, during your course of radiotherapy. The radiation doesnt stay in your body so you wont give off any radiation.
Prostate Treatment Possible Side Effects
During the radiation treatments, you may or may not experience some of the following symptoms. Below is a list of possible side effects of radiation to the pelvic area as well as tips on how to manage. IF you experience any of these side effects please notify one of the therapists or nurses so that they may be able to assess the situation accordingly.
- IF you are experiencing FATIGUE:
- Fatigue may occur around the third week of radiation treatment as a result of the radiation interacting with the body.
- Exercising will help give you more energy.
- Take a short nap if needed to help restore energy.
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Prostate Cancer: Radiation Therapy
Radiation can be given from a machine outside the body and directed at the prostate . Or a surgeon can place radioactive materials into the tumor . These radioactive materials can be temporary or permanent.
Finding A Spaceoar Hydrogel Doctor Near You Is Simple
Get started by entering your ZIP code below and click submit. You will be redirected to a map view showing you the nearest doctors to your location. *Please note, there may be other doctors in your area who treat prostate cancer not listed here.
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What To Expect For Your Treatment
Youll get ERBT at a hospital or clinic. Youll likely not have to stay overnight. The total length of time for your treatment depends on the type and dose of radiation, as well as why you are getting it. For instance, if youre getting radiation as the main treatment for an early-stage prostate cancer, youll likely get treatments 5 days a week for several weeks in a row. If youre getting radiation therapy to treat bone pain, youll probably need fewer treatments.
Each treatment is much like getting an X-ray, but the radiation is stronger. You lie on a table while the machine delivers the radiation. The actual treatment is quick and doesnt hurt, but getting you into the proper place for treatment each time takes longer. When you are in the right position, the radiation therapist leaves the room and controls the machine. The therapist can see you. And you can talk with and hear the therapist the whole time.
Your radiation oncologist or nurse can tell you what to expect during treatment.
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Will I Be Able To Have Sex During And After Imrt
Most men who get IMRT for their prostate cancer worry about not being able to have intercourse . Most men do not have a problem with erections or intercourse during or right after IMRT.
Over time, you may find that you are not having as many erections as you used to. This is because the radiation can harm the nerves near your prostate that help you have erections. If this happens, talk to your doctor or health care team about things you can do to deal with this. If you could not get an erection before IMRT, this will not get better after IMRT.
You may find that during treatment that your desire to have sex is lower. This is probably caused more by the stress of you having cancer or fatigue than your treatment. Once the treatment ends and you get better, your sexual desire will probably return.
If you have questions or concerns about having sex during and after your prostate cancer treatment, talk to your doctor or health care team.
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