Side Effects of Radiation for Prostate Cancer

July 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer

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Whether you use the term cancer effects prostate radiation side or not, you are obviously looking for information on the side effects of radiation for prostate cancer. This article looks into radiation therapy treatment and explains the side effects.

No doubts about it – Prostate cancer radiation treatments are about the most popular ways to deal with the disease these days, albeit one should not construe that as implying that they are the best. As a matter of fact, there are very few surgeons or medical practitioners in the United State who will lay claim on any one technique being the very best prostate cancer treatment. Most will simply state that they are most comfortable with one procedure over another, or that a specific case of prostate type of cancer requires this or that specific treatment.

Nonetheless, radiation treatment of prostate cancer holds a dear position in the hearts of lots of oncologists because of the incredible way it helps with pre-metastatic prostate cancer, and even cancers that have recently started to migrate around the body to other parts, especially to the bones. There are two main types of radiation treatments, or radiotherapy, as used in treatment and management of prostate cancer ? they are internal radiation therapy and external beam radiation therapy.

Internal radiation therapy – This technique is also known as brachytherapy, it is a procedure in which a surgeon puts radioactive, rice-size pellets directly into the prostate, so that they can emit radiation from within the gland to kill the malignant tumors. This seed radiation procedure often proves attractive to both patients and doctors because implantation is relatively simple, requires minimal hospitalization and hardly ever leaves any surgical wound because only the smallest incisions are made.

Back in the day, before it became a big name in prostate cancer treatment, the long term results of brachytherapy, although promising, were also unsettling because then the pellets had to be placed without imaging technology, meaning that parts of the prostate might not get any radioactive seeds. Not anymore, a template placed between the scrotum and rectum makes it so much easier, and the approach is considered to be no less effective than the external-beam radiation for treating men with low-stage tumors.

External beam radiation therapy -This is a prostate cancer intervention that uses a linear accelerator to produce high-energy x-rays which are directed in a beam towards the prostate. The radiation of the beam is adjusted by intensity modulated radiation therapy (or IMRT) so that it can conform with the shape of the tumor, making it possible for higher doses of radiation to be applied with less damage to the bladder and rectum. It often lasts over several weeks, with daily visits to a radiation therapy center. It used to have a lot of side effects too, but because of improvements, those are lessening. However, if a tumor extends past the prostate, brachytherapy may be combined with external-beam radiation to attack the outer reaches of the mass.

And when it comes to side effects, you might be looking at diarrhea and some rectal bleeding, and potential urinary incontinence, as well as and impotence, a few weeks into treatment. However, these symptoms tend to improve with time.

If you are looking for specific Cleveland Clinic radiation dose prostate cancer information, Cylinder radiation therapy for prostrate cancer or Early hormone therapy radiation prostate cancer tips, see the particular related article about these in the “related articles” section.

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