Prostrate Cancer Radiation Treatment – Important Tips

How do they tell that radiation is the best treatment that would cure your prostate cancer?

It’s not too difficult once they have been able to confirm that you have the malignancy. With the results from your PSA test and your biopsy, they are able to work up your Gleason score and determine if you have a mild and slow growing prostate cancer, or if you suffer from an aggressive form of hormone refractory melanoma. Then they can tell if radiation is most appropriate or if you have to undergo surgery, or some other prostate cancer remedy.

Determining your Gleason score from the biopsy requires the pathologist to assign a number on a scale of 1 to 5 to the shape and size of the cancerous cells that they have observed under the microscope. The cells with the least deviation get one such Gleason number, while those with the most mutation get another Gleason number. Adding up the two Gleason numbers provides the Gleason score, which could be any number from 1 to 10. The closer your score to 10, the worse of your prognosis is, and the more aggressive the treatment will have to be.

Radiation therapy is actually often used to treat all stages of prostate cancer, but is mostly reserved for when surgery fails or is not viable. Also known as radiotherapy, this technique makes use of ionizing radiation in the effort to kill the mutated cells that have constituted the prostate cancer. When this ionizing radiation is absorbed in tissue, its gamma and x-rays damage the DNA in cancer cells, which increases their probability of apoptosis. Normal cells are also hurt in the process, but they are however able to repair damage done by the radiation and repair themselves. The cancer cells are not so lucky.

The better known method of radiation therapy for prostate cancer is external beam radiation therapy, in which a linear accelerator is used to produce high-energy x-rays that are beamed towards the prostate, adjusted by IMRT ? Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy to conform with the shape of the tumor and allow higher doses to be administered to the cancerous cells in spite of lesser damage to the bladder and rectum.

Brachytherapy is the second means by which prostate cancer radiation treatment is applied to the disease. In this method, radioactive seed implants are inserted into the prostate gland through tiny incisions. Many men often choose brachytherapy because implantation is relatively simple, requires minimal hospitalization and leaves no surgical wound. Performed under local anesthesia, it also spares healthy, nearby tissue and appears to be as effective as surgery for men with early-stage prostate cancer. The radioactive, rice-size pellets emit radiation from within the gland that kills the cancers. They are never again extracted and after a while they lose their radioactivity. The risk of exposure to the patient is minimized; as is the risk to anyone he might come across.

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