A suspicion of prostate cancer most commonly arises based on an elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) value determined by a blood test. The elevated value generally leads to further examinations. The purpose of biopsies taken from the prostate gland is to find out whether the changes in the prostate gland are benign or malignant.
A referral to radiation therapy for prostate cancer is usually provided by the urologist treating the patient. The referral is based on a treatment consultation held during an appointment. Radiation therapy is recommended either separately or to support the effectiveness of removal surgery. In the last mentioned case, radiation therapy is given after the prostate removal surgery.
At Orton, a radiation oncologist is responsible for the radiation therapy given to the patient. During the first visit, an oncologist evaluates the patient’s suitability for radiation therapy and the means of carrying out the treatment. The oncologist also tells the patient about the treatment objectives and any adverse effects.
Radiation therapy for prostate cancer can be given either as external or internal radiation therapy. It can also be given as a combination of these. Based on the examinations, a plan is drawn up for carrying out the radiation therapy and achieving the best possible treatment outcome.
Radiation Therapy Benefits, Drawbacks, and Recovery
During the radiation therapy period, urinary or intestinal disorders, as well as erectile dysfunction may occur. Usually, the symptoms are the worst at the end of radiation therapy, but they will gradually improve over a period of months. Generally, the side effects caused by radiation therapy can be relieved by medication.
Recovery from the side effects of radiation therapy is unique to each patient, but usually the side effects are alleviated within one month.
Length of the Radiation Therapy Period
Radiation therapy for prostate cancer is given as a series of treatments. The length of the radiation therapy period varies from four to eight weeks, depending on the patient. A single radiation therapy session lasts around ten minutes. The treatment is given five days a week as outpatient treatment. The patient can be discharged immediately after the radiation therapy and there are no restrictions on activities, such as the use of one’s car.
Hydrogel protection in connection with radiation therapy for prostate cancer
Hydrogel protection minimizes the radiation dose to the surrounding tissues in the prostate, which reduces the risk of injury. Read more about hydrogel protection.