Advances in Radiation Therapy Offer Precise Targeting of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men accounting for about a third of all cancers in the US. The diagnosis is only the beginning of a journey in understanding the complexity of prostate cancer and the variety of treatments offered. Unlike other cancers, which involve a more straightforward approach in the treatment process, there are several options available to treating prostate cancer. Those options are also very unique to the individual, depending on their age, lifestyle, and other medical considerations.
“Our goal is to help our patients understand all aspects related to prostate cancer, so they are empowered to make the correct, and unique choice, to optimize the best outcomes,” says Dr. William Ding, radiation oncologist, the UCA Prostate Cancer Center in Lawrenceville. “At the UCA Prostate Cancer Center, we offer a comprehensive approach that brings a collection of expertise and experience, that you can draw upon to make your decision in choosing the optimal treatment.”
More than 2.5 million men in the United States are survivors of prostate cancer – and the survival rate is rising thanks to improved awareness, increased screening and better treatments offering new options and improved outcomes.
If found at an early stage, prostate cancer has a very high chance of cure. However, when prostate cancer spreads outside the prostate or reappears after initial treatment, it is known as advanced prostate cancer. Fortunately, in addition to early detection, advances in radiation therapy treatment means more men can be cured of this disease and still maintain an excellent quality of life.
At the UCA Prostate Cancer Center, we offer a collaborative clinical team comprised of Radiation Oncologists and UCA Urologists, to offer the most state-of-the-art radiation treatment options. The UCA Prostate Cancer Center offers the latest advancements in radiation treatment for various types of cancers.
“Radiation therapy destroys the cancer machinery, and stops cancer cells from dividing and growing, with the ultimate goal of killing all of the cancer cells and eliminating the tumor,” explains Dr. Ding. “Just as surgery has been advanced with the advent of robotic-assisted devices, radiation therapy has also experienced advances in both the technology and accuracy of treatment.”
According to Dr. Ding, the new technology safely provides a higher dose of radiation than even five years ago, which helps to improve the chances of a cure. For similar stage and prostate cancer types, radiation therapy is as effective as surgery but with a different treatment process and different side effects.
Understanding IMRT & IGRT Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy delivered from a high energy X-ray machine (called a linear accelerator) has been effectively used to treat prostate cancer for more than 30 years. But in recent years, there have been several major technological advances offering an excellent record of success, providing long-term disease control and survival rates equivalent to other treatments, including surgery.
The UCA Prostate Cancer Center offers a full range of options when it comes to treating advanced prostate cancer, including Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT).
With Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), sophisticated computers modulate the intensity of the radiation beam, increasing it to areas where cancer cells reside, and decreasing it to areas that need to be protected. This allows for maximum radiation to be delivered to the prostate and areas potentially harboring cancer cells, while minimizing radiation to the bladder and rectum. Patients with intermediate to advanced stage prostate cancer have a high risk of having cancer outside the prostate, beyond the surgeon’s reach. Unlike surgery, IMRT can treat this area.
Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) takes IMRT one-step further…”think of it like a GPS for your prostate” says Dr. Ding. Various imaging technologies and tracking markers are utilized before each daily treatment, to acquire a 3-dimensional image of the prostate and surrounding anatomy. Computers detect any slight change in position of the prostate gland that may result from movement or variations in filling of the bladder or rectum. Using this information, the computer adjusts the radiation beam accordingly in order to precisely target the treatment to the prostate’s exact position that day. Changes as small as 1 millimeter are made to provide the greatest precision available.
Dr. Ding noted, “IMRT remains the standard of care for radiation treatments. Patient education and compassion are paramount. Decisions are data driven, and because every patient is different, each treatment plan is tailored to the patient’s specific clinical needs. Outcomes are excellent with IMRT, both in tumor control and just as importantly, low side effects.”
A diagnosis of prostate cancer presents a long list of questions about the disease and treatment options. To learn more about prostate cancer and radiation therapy, please visit the Prostate Cancer Foundation website at: http://www.pcf.org/site/c.leJRIROrEpH/b.5813857/k.AACD/Radiation_Therapy.htm
To learn more about the UCA Prostrate Cancer Center visit our webpage at: http://premierprostatecare.com