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Effects Of Radiation Therapy For Prostate Cancer

Are There Any Long

Side Effects of Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer | Prostate Cancer Staging Guide

Long-term risks are slight, but do exist. Its rare but possible that a patient will suffer worsening urinary and rectal function, and there is always a risk of radiation causing cancer.

“Because there are some risks, albeit small ones, we do not treat a patient unless we believe that we can have a real impact on his survival,” says Dr. Yu. For a patient with a very slow-growing cancer, we typically monitor instead of advising immediate treatment.”

Diarrhea Flatulence Or Painful Defecation

These symptoms usually occur after the second or third week of treatment. Symptoms will resolve after the treatment ends. During radiation, dietary modification usually helps reduce the frequency and severity of diarrhea. Try to avoid or reduce fried foods, greasy foods and highly spiced foods. Reduce foods with insoluble fiber, such as lettuce and cauliflower, and increase low-fiber and soluable-fiber foods, such as bananas, mashed potatoes, applesauce, white rice, canned or cooked fruits and vegetables.

Maintain your intake of lean proteins, such as turkey, chicken and fish, and increase your fluid intake to avoid dehydration. Using moist toilet paper, baby wipes or sitz baths may help relieve rectal irritation. Your doctor may recommend anti-diarrheal medications. Contact your doctor if you see blood in your stool, if the diarrhea worsens or if you become light-headed or dizzy.

Possible Late Effects Of External Beam Radiotherapy

You may have side effects that do not improve, or side effects that happen months to years after radiotherapy finishes. These are called long-term or late effects. Your doctor or nurse will explain these to you. There are different ways late effects of pelvic radiotherapy can be managed.

Possible late effects include the following:

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Early And Late Effects Of Radiation Therapy

  • Early side effects happen during or shortly after treatment. These side effects tend to be short-term, mild, and treatable. Theyre usually gone within a few weeks after treatment ends. The most common early side effects are fatigue and skin changes. Other early side effects usually are related to the area being treated, such as hair loss and mouth problems when radiation treatment is given to this area.
  • Late side effects can take months or even years to develop. They can occur in any normal tissue in the body that has received radiation. The risk of late side effects depends on the area treated as well as the radiation dose that was used. Careful treatment planning can help avoid serious long-term side effects. Its always best to talk to your radiation oncologist about the risk of long-term side effects.

Radiation Therapy Side Effects

Prostate Cancer Side Effects

Because the prostate is close to several vital structures, radiation therapy can disrupt normal urinary, bowel, and sexual functioning. Short-term Complications You may experience some temporary urinary symptoms, such as waking up in the night and needing to urinate, needing to urinate more often during the…

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Proton Beam Radiati On Therapy

Proton beam radiation therapy capitalizes on a unique physical property of high energy protons generated from a cyclotron. The accelerated charged particles travel through tissue until reaching a depth determined by their energy. Once they reach that depth, the remainder of the radiation dose is deposited in a sharp Bragg peak with no dose going beyond that point. When multiple proton beams are used, a very sharp and tight radiation dose distribution is created. This modality is especially attractive when tumors are in close proximity to sensitive organs. PCa is one of the more common indications in which proton therapy is utilized.

At Washington University in St. Louis we are collaborating with investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Medical School conducting a randomized clinical trial of IG-IMRT versus proton beam radiation in men with low and intermediate risk PCa. The PARTIQoL trial is seeking to measure and compare relative the impact of the two modalities on patient quality of life after treatment. provides a comparison of these two treatment modalities.

Axial CT slice showing conformality of intensity modulated radiation therapy. Radio-opaque markers are apparent in the anterior aspect of the prostate gland. Axial CT slice showing conformality of proton beam radiation therapy in the same patient as panel a. More sparing of the anterior-lateral rectal wall and less dose to peripheral tissues is apparent.

What Are Potential Side Effects

Typically, prostate-cancer patients tolerate radiation well.

During the first several weeks, side effects are minimal.

In the following weeks, you may begin to experience a few changes, including irritative urinary and bowel symptoms.

“We manage those with changes to diet, or medication,” says Dr. Yu. “We have helpful clinical nutritionists who can help ease side effects related to treatment, and if a patient has severe side effects, its possible to suspend treatment for a week.”

There is a small risk of a major medical problem, such as rectal bleeding, after radiation. In recent years, the precision of radiotherapy has helped to reduce such complications. Doctors track their patients regularly after treatment in order to catch any serious symptoms early.

“Our urology group is also exploring focal salvage therapies that may be able to address residual cancer that returns after radiation treatment,” says Dr. Yu.

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What Are The Long

A new five-year study identifies how different treatment options affect long-term bowel, bladder and sexual function.

Any man who is diagnosed with prostate cancer and faces treatment choices must grapple with the risk of side effects. Urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction are the most common. Sometimes, these side effects are temporary and get better with time.

Until now, however, there havent been good long-term data to help oncologists help men with prostate cancer make informed choices about treatment that take these side-effect risks into account.

The new study included more than 2,000 men who were followed for five years after receiving various types of prostate cancer treatment. The resulting paper quantifies key differences in those treatments associations with long-term bowel, bladder and sexual function. The study, called CEASAR, for the Comprehensive Effectiveness Analysis of Surgery and Radiation for Localized Prostate Cancer, is coordinated by the Vanderbilt University Medical Cancer and follows men who were diagnosed with localized prostate cancer between 2011 and 2012.

The 1,386 men with favorable-risk prostate cancer received one of these treatments:

The 619 men with unfavorable-risk prostate cancer received one of two treatments:

There were no clinically significant differences in bowel function after five years across the treatment types.

To read a press release about the study, .

To read the study abstract, .

    Read More About:

Long Term Side Effects

Side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer video

Once the inflammation is all healed, there can be some scarring that occurs. This is one way in which the body heals inflammation. Scarring can cause long term side effects. An example would be some scarring of the blood vessels and nerves that control the erections, which would result in erectile dysfunction .

Long term side effects are harder to treat, because it is not easy to treat scar tissue. Treatments like hyperbaric oxygen therapy and laser therapy may be required. As well, long term side effects can be long lasting or permanent.

Fortunately, the most common urinary and rectal side effects with prostate radiation are short term side effects. The only common long term side effect is weakening of the erections. Less common long term side effects are bleeding from the rectum and incontinence .

Q) Will I feel sick while Im on radiation?

A) No. The side effects are mostly in the prostate, rectum, and bladder area.

Q) I have heard that radiation can burn you up. Will I get burns on my skin?

A) No. There is usually no skin reaction from prostate radiation. Occasionally there can be a few pinkish patches that go away in a few weeks.

Q) Will I be able to work? Will I be able to drive? Will I be able to play golf?

A) Yes, yes, yes!

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What Are The Different Types Of External Beam Radiation Therapy

Many of the techniques noted below use technology to direct the treatment to target the cancer. Each type of external beam radiation starts with a CT scan to map your body and custom tailor the radiation to your specific anatomy. Special computers are then used to plan radiation treatment to deliver an adequate dose to the prostate while sparing nearby organs, such as the rectum and bladder, as much as possible.

What Happens On Treatment Days

External radiation therapy requires regular sessions during a period of about five to eight weeks. For each treatment, the radiation therapist will help you onto the treatment table and into the correct position. Once the therapist is sure you are positioned well, they will leave the room and start the radiation treatment.

You will be under constant observation during the treatment. Cameras and an intercom are in the treatment room, so the therapist can always see and hear you. Be sure to remain still and relaxed during treatment. Let the therapist know if you have any problems or discomfort.

The therapist will be in and out of the room to reposition the machine and change your position. The treatment machine will not touch you, and you will feel nothing during the treatment. Once the treatment is complete, the therapist will help you off the treatment table.

The radiation therapist will take a port film, also known as an X-ray, on the first day of treatment and about every week thereafter. Port films verify that you are being positioned accurately during your treatments.

Port films do not provide diagnostic information, so radiation therapists cannot learn about your progress from these films. However, port films are important to help the therapists make sure the radiation is delivered to the precise area that needs treatment.

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If Treatment Does Not Work

Recovery from cancer is not always possible. If the cancer cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may be called advanced or terminal.

This diagnosis is stressful, and for many people, advanced cancer may be difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team has special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families and is there to help. Making sure a person is physically comfortable, free from pain, and emotionally supported is extremely important.

People who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than 6 months may want to consider hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to talk with the health care team about hospice care options, which include hospice care at home, a special hospice center, or other health care locations. Nursing care and special equipment, including a hospital bed, can make staying at home a workable option for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.

After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.

What Are The Different Types Of Internal Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy For Prostate Cancer Side Effects

Brachytherapy and radiopharmaceuticals are both considered internal radiation therapies because they both work after being inserted inside the body, rather than being directed from outside. However, the similarities mostly end there. Brachytherapy works by implanting radioactive material into the prostate and is used for localized prostate cancer. Radiopharmaceuticals are injected into the bloodstream and are used for advanced, metastatic prostate cancer. Read on to find the details of each.

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What Are The Types Of Radiation Therapy Used For Prostate Cancer

Radiationtherapy for prostate cancer can be divided into two main categories.

Externalbeam radiation :Using a machine outside the body, beams of radiation are focused on theprostate gland. This can help relieve symptoms such as pain while limiting thedamage to the tissues surrounding the prostate.

The 4methods of external beam radiation are:

  • Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy
  • Proton beam radiation therapy

Brachytherapy:Small radioactive pellets are inserted into the prostate, each one about thesize of a grain of rice. About 100 pellets are used to limit the damage tosurrounding tissues and organs. Brachytherapy is most often used forearly-stage cases and is sometimes combined with EBRT. The pellets can eitherbe inserted for a couple of days for high dosages or a few months for lowdosage depending on the patients overall status.

Possible Side Effects Of Radiation Treatment For Prostate Cancer

The radiation used to destroy cancer cells can also hurt normal cells in the nearby area. Side effects from radiation treatment are related to the area of the body being treated. Patients start to have side effects a few weeks into their treatment. While side effects may be unpleasant, there are treatments to help deal with them. Most side effects are temporary and slowly start to go away once treatment is done.

You will be seen by your radiation oncology providers often during treatment. These visits are a chance to ask questions and to talk about any side effects and how to best manage them. You can also call your providers to speak about any side effects.

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If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Head Or Neck

People who get radiation to the head and neck might have side effects such as:

  • Soreness in the mouth or throat
  • Dry mouth
  • Jaw stiffness

How to care for your mouth during treatment

If you get radiation therapy to the head or neck, you need to take good care of your teeth, gums, mouth, and throat. Here are some tips that may help you manage mouth problems:

  • Avoid spicy and rough foods, such as raw vegetables, dry crackers, and nuts.
  • Dont eat or drink very hot or very cold foods or beverages.
  • Dont smoke, chew tobacco, or drink alcohol these can make mouth sores worse.
  • Stay away from sugary snacks.
  • Ask your cancer care team to recommend a good mouthwash. The alcohol in some mouthwashes can dry and irritate mouth tissues.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt and soda water every 1 to 2 hours as needed.
  • Sip cool drinks often throughout the day.
  • Eat sugar-free candy or chew gum to help keep your mouth moist.
  • Moisten food with gravies and sauces to make it easier to eat.
  • Ask your cancer care team about medicines to help treat mouth sores and control pain while eating.

If these measures are not enough, ask your cancer care team for advice. Mouth dryness may be a problem even after treatment is over. If so, talk to your team about what you can do.

How to care for your teeth during treatment

Radiation treatment to your head and neck can increase your chances of getting cavities. This is especially true if you have dry mouth as a result of treatment.

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Or Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy

Side Effects with Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer

This type of therapy is used to deliver high doses of radiation to a precise area in the prostate using specialized techniques not achievable by standard conventional radiation therapy. This allows the total dose of radiation to be given in a shorter amount of time, usually 4 -5 treatments over 1 2 weeks rather than the several weeks used for other types of external radiation therapy.

The radiation beam needs to be extremely accurate in order to limit the side effects on healthy tissue. During treatment, the body immobilization used is often more restrictive than with IMRT due to the high doses of radiation. Fiducials, or internal prostate markers, are often used in this type of treatment.

Cyberknife and Truebeam are two types of LINACs used for SBRT treatment of prostate cancer.

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If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Brain

People with brain tumors often get stereotactic radiosurgery if the cancer is in only one or a few sites in the brain. Side effects depend on where the radiation is aimed. Some side effects might show up quickly, but others might not show up until 1 to 2 years after treatment. Talk with your radiation oncologist about what to watch for and when to call your doctor.

If the cancer is in many areas, sometimes the whole brain is treated with radiation. The side effects of whole brain radiation therapy may not be noticeable until a few weeks after treatment begins.

Radiation to the brain can cause these short-term side effects:

  • Headaches
  • Trouble with memory and speech
  • Seizures

Some of these side effects can happen because radiation has caused the brain to swell. Medicines are usually given to prevent brain swelling, but its important to let your cancer care team know about headaches or any other symptoms. Treatment can affect each person differently, and you may not have these particular side effects.

Radiation to the brain can also have side effects that show up later usually from 6 months to many years after treatment ends. These delayed effects can include serious problems such as memory loss, stroke-like symptoms, and poor brain function. You may also have an increased risk of having another tumor in the area, although this is not common.

Talk with your cancer care team about what to expect from your specific treatment plan.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of External Beam Radiotherapy

What may be important for one person might not be so important for someone else. If youre offered external beam radiotherapy, speak to your doctor, nurse or radiographer before deciding whether to have it. They can tell you about any other treatment options and help you decide if radiotherapy is right for you.

Advantages of external beam radiotherapy

  • If your cancer is localised or locally advanced, radiotherapy will aim to get rid of the cancer completely.
  • Many men can carry on with many of their normal activities while having treatment, including going to work and driving.
  • Radiotherapy can be an option even if youre not fit or well enough for surgery.
  • Radiotherapy is painless .
  • The treatment itself only lasts around 10 minutes, including the time it takes to get you into position. But youll probably need to be at the hospital for up to an hour each day to prepare for your treatment. You dont need to stay in hospital overnight.

Disadvantages of external beam radiotherapy

I was able to continue working throughout my treatment, although I got tired quickly. I had some side effects but nothing I couldnt cope with. A personal experience

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