Wednesday, November 30, 2022
HomeCancerProstate Cancer Radiation Treatment After Effects

Prostate Cancer Radiation Treatment After Effects

Why Are There Marks On My Skin

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

Small marks resembling freckles will be made on your skin along the treatment area by the radiation therapist. These marks provide targets for the treatment and are a semi-permanent outline of your treatment area. Do not try to wash these marks off or retouch them if they fade. The therapist will re-mark the treatment area when necessary.

How Effective Is Radiation After Prostate Surgery

Radiotherapy immediately after RP may potentially eradicate any residual localized microscopic disease in the prostate bed, and it is associated with improved biochemical, clinical progression-free survival, and overall survival in patients with high-risk pathological features according to published randomized

Heres What You Should Know About This Treatment Option

Men who get diagnosed with prostate cancer have several options to choose from for their next step. Many men with slow-growing, low-risk cancer follow active surveillance, a wait-and-see approach that monitors the cancer for changes.

But if the cancer shows higher risk or has already begun to spread, other treatments are recommended. There are two options: surgery to remove the prostate or radiation to destroy the cancer cells.

Studies comparing these two approaches demonstrate no advantage of one over the other with respect to cancer control. Your path will depend on factors like your current health, the specifics of your cancer, and personal preference. Yet for many men, radiation can be the better option.

Its much more precise than the traditional radiation used for other kinds of cancer, and research also has found that long-term quality of life is often better, with fewer adverse health effects compared to surgery, says Dr. Anthony DAmico, a radiation oncologist with Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Womens Hospital.

There are two main ways to deliver radiation to the prostate: external beam radiation and brachytherapy.

You May Like: How Would You Know If You Have Prostate Cancer

Recommended Reading: What Is A 4k Blood Test For Prostate

Sexual And Reproductive Health

You can be sexually active during your radiation therapy, unless your radiation oncologist gives you other instructions. You wont be radioactive or pass radiation to anyone else.

If youre sexually active with someone whos able to get pregnant, its important to use birth control during and for 1 year after your radiation therapy. During your radiation therapy, your sperm may be damaged by the radiation. If you conceive a baby with this sperm, the baby might have birth defects. Using birth control helps prevent this.

For more information about your sexual health during cancer treatment, read Sex and Your Cancer Treatment. The American Cancer Society also has resources about sexual health issues during cancer treatment. The one for men is called Sex and the Adult Male with Cancer. You can search for it at www.cancer.org or call for a copy.

Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Program

MSKs Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Program helps people address the impact of their disease and treatment on sexual health. You can meet with a specialist before, during, or after your treatment. We can give you a referral, or you can call for an appointment.

Side Effects And How To Manage Them

Heavily promoted therapy for prostate cancer looks risky

Your radiation doctors plan treatments very carefully to lessen side effects. While some patients have little or no side effects from radiation therapy, others feel some discomfort. Side effects are usually short-term and can be treated. No matter what type of therapy you receive, our doctors and nurses are skilled in helping to manage side effects.

Side effects most often start by the second or third week of treatment. They can last up to several weeks after your final radiation treatment. Many people who get radiation have some fatigue and skin reactions. Based on the area of your body being treated, you may also have some:

Most side effects go away within 12 months after you have finished radiation therapy.

Recommended Reading: Foods That Irritate The Prostate Gland

Questions To Ask The Health Care Team

Consider asking the health care team these questions if radiation therapy is a part of your recommended treatment plan:

  • What physical side effects are likely based on my specific radiation therapy treatment plan? When will they likely begin?

  • How can these side effects be prevented or managed?

  • How can I take care of the affected skin during my treatment period?

  • Who should I tell when a side effect appears or gets worse?

  • Are there specific side effects I should tell the doctor about right away?

  • Who can I talk with if I’m feeling anxious or upset about having this treatment?

  • If I’m having side effects that affect my nutrition, can you recommend an oncology dietitian?

  • What are other ways I can take care of myself during the treatment period?

  • Are there any restrictions on exercising or other physical activity during this treatment?

  • Could this treatment affect my sex life? If so, how and for how long?

  • Could this treatment affect my ability to become pregnant or have a child? If so, should I talk with a fertility specialist before cancer treatment begins?

  • What are the potential long-term effects of this type of radiation therapy?

  • If I’m worried about managing the financial costs of cancer care, who can help me?

  • Will special precautions be needed to protect my family and others from radiation exposure during my treatment period?

  • After radiation therapy is completed, what will my follow-up care plan be?

  • Why is follow-up care important for managing side effects of treatment?

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.

Donât Miss: Brca Gene And Prostate Cancer

You May Like: Can Enlarged Prostate Cause Back And Leg Pain

Questions To Ask Your Doctor Nurse Or Radiographer

You may find it helpful to keep a note of any questions you have to take to your next appointment.

  • What type of radiotherapy will I have?
  • How many sessions will I need?
  • What other treatment options do I have?
  • What are the possible side effects and how long will they last?
  • What treatments are available to manage the possible side effects from radiotherapy?
  • Will I have hormone therapy and will this carry on after radiotherapy?
  • How and when will I know if radiotherapy has worked?
  • If the radiotherapy doesnt work, which other treatments can I have?
  • Who should I contact if I have any questions?
  • What support is there to help manage long-term side effects?

Psa Levels After Treatment

Which is Better – Surgery vs. Radiation for Prostate Cancer?

A continuous rise in your PSA level can be the first sign that your cancer has come back. This should be picked up by your regular PSA tests.

The exact change in PSA level that suggests your cancer has come back will depend on which treatment you had. Speak to your doctor or nurse about your own situation.

Your PSA level should drop so low that its not possible to detect it at six to eight weeks after surgery. This is because the prostate, which produces PSA, has been removed. A rise in your PSA level may suggest that you still have some prostate cancer cells.

After radiotherapy or brachytherapy, your PSA should drop to its lowest level after 18 months to two years. Your PSA level wont fall to zero as your healthy prostate cells will continue to produce some PSA.

Your PSA level may actually rise after radiotherapy treatment, and then fall again. This is called PSA bounce. It could happen up to three years after treatment. It is normal, and doesnt mean that the cancer has come back.

If your PSA level rises by 2 ng/ml or more above its lowest level, this could be a sign that your cancer has come back. Your doctor will continue to check your PSA level and will talk to you about further tests and treatment options.

Recommended Reading: How Can Prostate Cancer Be Treated

Other Questions About Radiation Therapy

Who can I contact if I have concerns about my treatment?

Many hospitals and clinics have a staff social worker who can help you during your treatment. Check with your doctor to see if this is available to you.

The social worker can discuss any emotional issues or other concerns about your treatment or your personal situation, and they can give you information about resources. They can also discuss housing or transportation needs if you need.

People dealing with certain medical issues find it helpful to share experiences with others in the same situation. Your doctor can give you a list of support groups if youâre interested. Your social worker can offer more information about finding support, and you can look online for support group resources.

What about follow-up care?

After your radiation therapy sessions are complete, youâll visit your doctor for regular follow-up exams and tests. Your doctor will tell you how often to schedule your follow-up appointments.

You can also ask your doctor for a survivorship care plan. This outlines things like:

  • The treatment you received
  • What side effects you may get in the short and long term
  • Who should be following you for testing and care

Show Sources

American Cancer Society: âRadiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer,â âRadiation Therapy Side Effects,â âCancer Therapy,â âEating Well During Treatment.â

OncoLink: âRadiation Therapy: Which type is right for me?â

Memorial Sloan Kettering: âWhat Is Brachytherapy?â

Treatment Vs Side Effects

Prostate cancer treatment side effects can vary greatly from little to none, or create lifetime issues. Studying what treatments cause what side effects should be part of your treatment decision. Consenting to treatment means you understand the nature of the treatment, risks, benefits and alternatives.

Treatment or the combination of treatments in advanced cases can lead to a wide range of side effects. Prostate cancer treatment side effects include erectile dysfunction, incontinence, urinary issues, diarrhea, hot flashes, weight gain, loss of muscle, vomiting and hair loss. There are short term prostate cancer treatment side effects that subside over time, as well as long term side effects that can last for years. Question your Doctor about the side effects of the treatment you have selected. Make an informed decision.

Prostate cancer treatment side effects can vary greatly from little to none, or create lifetime issues. Studying what treatments cause what side effects should be part of your treatment decision. Consenting to treatment means you understand the nature of the treatment, risks, benefits and alternatives.

Don’t Miss: Is Coffee Good For Prostate

Permissions And Ethical Aspects

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland provided permission to obtain the Finnish Cancer Registry patient data. Experts in health psychology revised the questionnaire, and it was mailed to the patients from the National Public Health Institute . The Ethics Committee of Helsinki University Hospital approved the research protocol.

Note The Time Of Your Procedure

Drugs for Prostate Cancer

A staff member from the Admitting Office will call you after 2:00 pm the day before your procedure. If your procedure is scheduled for a Monday, theyll call you on the Friday before.

The staff member will tell you what time to arrive at the hospital for your procedure. Theyll also remind you where to go. If you dont get a call by 7:00 pm, call .

Don’t Miss: Stage 4 5 Prostate Cancer

How Long Does Radiation Therapy For Prostate Cancer Take

The length of prostate cancer varies depending on a number of factors, such as the type, stage and location of the cancer. And while some people may be treated with only one therapy session, most of the time patients are subjected to a series of regular treatments that may run anywhere between one and eight weeks.

The treatment is usually administered once in a day, five days of a week, with each session only taking a few minutes. But then again, this may vary depending on the intensity of the spread, the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the type of radiation therapy being administered.

How Effective Is Modern Radiation Treatment Of Prostate Cancer

Thanks to improvements in technology and daily imaging, radiation therapy can deliver a higher radiation dose directly to the tumor while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. Doctors use different imaging techniques to see the prostate and surrounding tissues in three dimensions. This allows the doctor to tailor the radiation more precisely to the individual patientâs unique needs. Treatment planning allows them to estimate and minimize radiation exposure to the rectum, small bowel, bladder, and hips. This helps reduce the risk of side effects and complications. The goal is to safely provide a high dose of radiation, which improves the chance of cure. For similar stage and prostate cancer types, radiation therapy is as effective as surgery.

Also Check: Things To Do To Prevent Prostate Cancer

When Is Brachytherapy Alone The Right Choice

For some patients with disease that is confined to the prostate and not too aggressive , brachytherapy alone is a good option. It is also convenient for the patient as it is done in an outpatient setting and most people can get back to work within a few days.

But brachytherapy is not right for everyone. For some patients with less-aggressive disease, a watch-and-wait approach would be preferred. At MSK, our philosophy is that when the disease is caught very early, it is very appropriate to do active surveillance and hold off on treatment.

This philosophy applies to patients with a low PSA level, or nonaggressive disease as reflected by a Gleason score of 6 with evidence of cancer in only a few of the biopsy samples and no evidence from the MRI of a significant amount of disease. There are also very select patients with Gleason 7 disease who may be candidates for active surveillance.

If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Chest

How Radiation Affects The Prostate | Mark Scholz, MD

Radiation treatment to the chest may cause side effects such as:

Radiation can also cause other problems in the heart or lungs.

Heart complications

Getting radiation to the middle portion of the chest can raise your risk of heart disease. This risk increases with higher radiation doses and larger treatment areas in this part of your body. Radiation can also cause hardening of the arteries , heart valve damage, or irregular heartbeats.

Radiation pneumonitis

Radiation pneumonitis is inflammation of the lungs that can be caused by radiation treatment to the chest . It may occur about 3 to 6 months after getting radiation therapy. Its more likely if you have other lung diseases, like emphysema . Common symptoms of radiation pneumonitis include:

  • Shortness of breath that usually gets worse with exercise
  • Chest pain, which is often worse when taking in a deep breath

Sometimes there are no symptoms, and radiation pneumonitis is found on a chest x-ray.

Symptoms often go away on their own, but if treatment is needed, it is based on trying to decrease the inflammation. Steroids, like prednisone, are usually used. With treatment, most people recover without any lasting effects. But if it persists, it can lead to pulmonary fibrosis . When this happens, the lungs can no longer fully inflate and take in air.

Be sure you understand what to look for, and tell your cancer care team if you notice any of these side effects.

Read Also: Stage 2 Prostate Cancer Treatment

Faq: Radiation Therapy For Prostate Cancer

Why would I choose radiation therapy?

Radiation therapy, including external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy, is an alternative form of treatment for prostate cancer. EBRT may be used after other treatments, such as surgery, to manage cancer that has recurred or is at high risk of recurrence. Radiation therapy has an excellent record of success, providing long-term disease control and survival rates equivalent to other treatments, including surgery.

How should I expect to feel during radiation therapy?

Undergoing external beam radiation therapy is similar to having a routine X-ray. Radiation cannot be seen, smelled or felt. Generally, side effects don’t appear until the second or third week of treatment. Because radiation therapy is a local treatment, only the areas of the body where it is directed will experience side effects. Most patients will experience some or all of the following:

  • Increase in the frequency of urination
  • Urinary urgency
  • Softer and smaller volume bowel movements
  • Increased frequency of bowel movements
  • Worsening of hemorrhoids or rectal irritation with occasional scant blood and fatigue

Many questions may arise during radiation therapy treatment. Your doctors will be available to answer questions throughout your treatment.

How should I expect to feel after radiation therapy?

What Happens Before Radiation Therapy Treatment

Each treatment plan is created to meet a patientâs individual needs, but there are some general steps. You can expect these steps before beginning treatment:

Meeting with your radiation oncologist. The doctor will review your medical records, perform a physical exam, and recommend tests. You will also learn about the potential risks and benefits of radiation therapy. This is a great time to ask any questions or share concerns you may have.

Giving permission for radiation therapy. If you choose to receive radiation therapy, your health care team will ask you to sign an âinformed consentâ form. Signing the document means:

  • Your team gave you information about your treatment options.

  • You choose to have radiation therapy.

  • You give permission for the health care professionals to deliver the treatment.

  • You understand the treatment is not guaranteed to give the intended results.

Simulating and planning treatment. Your first radiation therapy session is a simulation. This means it is a practice run without giving radiation therapy. Your team will use imaging scans to identify the tumor location. These may include:

Depending on the area being treated, you may receive a small mark on your skin. This will help your team aim the radiation beam at the tumor.

You may also be fitted for an immobilization device. This could include using:

Recommended Reading: Diagnostic Procedures For Prostate Cancer

Also Check: How To Protect Yourself From Prostate Cancer

RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular