IMRT – The Best Radiation Treatment for Prostate Cancer Now

April 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer

A recent comparison research on the how effective the treatment of prostate cancer with radiation therapy is, shows that External Beam Radiation works better than other types. Radiation treatment can be referred to as a kind of treatment whereby radioactive substances are beamed to cancerous cells so as to scorch them. It is intended that the heat from the radiation destroy the cells that has started growing abnormally and uncontrollably.

Radiation treatment is often used as one of the most effective treatments for cancer diseases. This is one reason why doctors often recommend it for prostate cancer. If cancer that originates from the prostate gland is diagnosed early, the use of this treatment option can help to cure it permanently.

There are different types of radiation therapies or treatments, but you could be confused as to which is the best. The recent report mentioned above indicates that most men are more comfortable with external beam radiation. This type of radiation allows the patient to undergo a treatment called Intensity-modulated radiation therapy or IMRT. Here is an excerpt from an article that discloses the study reveals that IMRT is the best treatment of radiation for prostate cancer:

Nearly all men with prostate cancer who opt for external beam radiation get a treatment called intensity-modulated radiation therapy or IMRT. IMRT has almost entirely replaced another type of radiation treatment called 3D conformational therapy — even though it’s much more expensive, with little head-to-head evidence showing it works better.

And there’s an even newer and even more expensive prostate cancer treatment: proton beam therapy. More and more medical centers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build new proton beam therapy centers.

Which treatment really offers a man the best chance of a prostate cancer cure with the fewest side effects? IMRT, according to Ronald C. Chen, MD, MPH, and colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“For prostate cancer in this country, we have completely adopted IMRT,” Chen tells WebMD. “I don’t see anybody going back to 3D therapy. And thankfully, our study does show it is better in terms of cancer control and reducing long-term side effects. So IMRT is here to stay.”

Chen’s team didn’t conduct a clinical trial. Instead, they compared results for similar Medicare patients who underwent IMRT, 3D conformational therapy, or proton beam therapy for prostate cancer. The data came from Medicare-linked records from the huge U.S. Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database.

The study analyzed data from 6,666 men treated with IMRT, 6,310 men treated with 3D conformational therapy, and 684 men treated with proton beam therapy.

The results:

Men treated with IMRT were 19% less likely to need additional cancer treatment compared to men treated with 3D conformational therapy.

Men treated with IMRT were 12% more likely to suffer erectile dysfunction than were men treated with 3D conformational therapy.

Men treated with IMRT were 22% less likely to be diagnosed with hip fractures and 9% less likely to have gastrointestinal problems than were men treated with 3D conformational therapy.

There was no difference in the need for additional cancer treatment between men treated with IMRT and those treated with proton beam therapy.

Men treated with IMRT were 34% less likely to suffer gastrointestinal events than were men treated with proton beam therapy.

Read the full article here

Conclusively, this study has proven that treating prostate cancer with IMRT is more effective than other options. The side effects of this treatment are minimal compared with what you get from other methods like the 3D Conformational Therapy. The study above is more or less a comparative study and not a clinical trial, thus the statistics quoted are from the results of the studies done on men treated with different types of radiation- external beam radiation, 3D Conformational therapy, and proton beam therapy. So, you can visit your doctor if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer of the prostate. The doctor can provide you with more light on the benefits and side effects of going for any of these options.

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