Prostate Cancer And Radiation – An Ideal Treatment Option

July 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer

At one time, radiation treatment simply meant the application of ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells in the body; however the term has grown to mean a whole lot more than just that in this modern day. Ionizing radiation is still very valid and in fact it has been improved in a variety of other ways; but again there are a variety of other forms or radiation treatments, especially for prostate cancer, that are viable today.

Standard radiation therapy

This may be applied in two ways – external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy). In the previous, the radiation is from an external source such as a linear accelerator, and the beam is aimed toward the region that the tumor is at, effectively killing it. In the second instance, the radiation comes from tiny little seeds that have been implanted into the prostate through tiny incisions.

The problem with standard radiation therapy is that it is often difficult to target specific cells or tumors that are cancerous. Because the radiation beam is not that smart – and because it is harmful to other cells as well – the patients often suffer a number of side effects to the radiation treatment and may have to remain ill for a while even after the treatment has stopped, while the body recuperates.

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In answer to this dilemma, newer forms of radiation have emerged.

IMRT – this is an improvement on the oldest form of radiotherapy for prostate cancer. An acronym for intensity modulated radiation therapy, it is more or less the same procedure but one in which the radiation can be used to specifically target the cancerous cells with minimal damage to other cells in the body. This naturally translates into less damage to other tissues, and quicker healing from the treatment.

Proton therapy – by layman terms, this may look like pretty much the same procedure, but it is technically entirely a different approach. It appears that protons are a bit more sensitive to abnormal tissue than ionizing radiation of gamma rays and x-rays. In addition, they can be specifically targeted at a mark to which they would penetrate precisely without exceeding the point or doing any damage before they get there. Beyond that, proton therapy is your regular radiation treatment; shorter stays in the hospital, fewer side effects, and more rapid healing make it more appealing to all levels of patients.

Green light laser therapy isn’t exactly meant for prostate cancer, but instead for benign prostate hypertrophy. Actually, the procedure is more of a surgery than anything else because it is often used in the place of a transurethral resection of the prostate to cut away excess tissue in the prostate region.

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