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What Are The Side Effects Of Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy In Advanced Disease:

Side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer video

Some forms of radiation therapy, like external radiation therapy and radiopharmaceuticals, can help with advanced prostate cancer. One type of external radiation therapy is used along with hormone therapy to treat cancer that has spread outside the prostate to nearby tissue. In addition, radiopharmaceuticals are used to manage pain and symptoms of bone metastases. Scroll down to learn more about radiopharmaceuticals.

What Will I Learn By Reading This

You and your doctor may be talking about using IMRT to treat your prostate cancer. It is important for you to learn about IMRT so that you will know what to expect and how best to take care of yourself before, during, and after treatment. In this booklet, you will learn about the following:

  • What IMRT is
  • How you get ready for IMRT
  • What to expect when you have IMRT
  • Possible side effects of IMRT
  • How you can take care of yourself before, during, and after IMRT

It is important to think about how you will work these things into your everyday life if you and your doctor decide that IMRT is the best way to treat your prostate cancer.

If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Breast

If you have radiation to the breast, it can affect your heart or lungs as well causing other side effects.

Short-term side effects

Radiation to the breast can cause:

  • Skin irritation, dryness, and color changes
  • Breast soreness
  • Breast swelling from fluid build-up

To avoid irritating the skin around the breast, women should try to go without wearing a bra whenever they can. If this isnt possible, wear a soft cotton bra without underwires.

If your shoulders feel stiff, ask your cancer care team about exercises to keep your shoulder moving freely.

Breast soreness, color changes, and fluid build-up will most likely go away a month or 2 after you finish radiation therapy. If fluid build-up continues to be a problem, ask your cancer care team what steps you can take. See Lymphedema for more information.

Long-term changes to the breast

Radiation therapy may cause long-term changes in the breast. Your skin may be slightly darker, and pores may be larger and more noticeable. The skin may be more or less sensitive and feel thicker and firmer than it was before treatment. Sometimes the size of your breast changes it may become larger because of fluid build-up or smaller because of scar tissue. These side effects may last long after treatment.

After about a year, you shouldnt have any new changes. If you do see changes in breast size, shape, appearance, or texture after this time, tell your cancer care team about them right away.

Less common side effects in nearby areas

Also Check: Cryoablation Success Rate For Prostate Cancer

Who Should Consider Taking Radiopharmaceuticals

Radiopharmaceuticals are given through a vein to men with metastatic prostate cancer that has spread widely to the bone. Strontium89 and Samarium-153 are radiopharmaceuticals given to reduce the pain caused by the bone cancer. Radium-223, or Xofigo®, is a radiopharmaceutical given to prolong life.

The side effects associated with radiopharmaceuticals are mainly the suppression, or lowering, of white blood cell and platelet levels in the blood. Your doctor will be able to assess whether your body can handle this side effect before you are given the treatment and will monitor your levels after you receive it. Your doctor, specialist nurse, or nuclear medicine practitioner will be able to give you more information about the treatment and possible side effects.

If your doctor has told you that your bone metastases have spread, you may be a candidate for a radiopharmaceutical. Speak with your oncology team to see if one of these treatments may be right for you.

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Or Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy

Prostate Cancer Side Effects

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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What Are The Side Effects Of Hormone Therapy For Prostate Cancer

Because androgens affect many other organs besides the prostate, ADT can have a wide range of side effects , including:

  • loss of interest in sex
  • Studer UE, Whelan P, Albrecht W, et al. Immediate or deferred androgen deprivation for patients with prostate cancer not suitable for local treatment with curative intent: European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Trial 30891. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2006 24:18681876.

  • Zelefsky MJ, Eastham JA, Sartor AO. Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer. In: Vincent T. DeVita J, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’s Cancer: Principles & Practice of Oncology, 9e. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2011.

  • Smith MR, Saad F, Chowdhury S, et al. Apalutamide and overall survival in prostate cancer. European Urology 2021 79:150158.

  • The Sequence Of Hormonal Therapy And Radiation Affects Outcomes In Men Treated For Prostate Cancer

    • By Charlie Schmidt, Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

    A common treatment for men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer is to combine radiation with drugs that block testosterone a hormone that makes the tumors grow faster. .

    New research is suggesting the sequence of these treatments may be crucially important.

    Dr. Dan Spratt, a professor of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan, led the research. He and his colleagues pooled data from two previously published clinical trials 30528-X/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> here and here). Taken together, the studies enrolled just over 1,000 men who had been randomly assigned to one of two groups:

    • hormonal therapy given before radiation , or
    • hormonal therapy that started either concurrently with radiation and then continued after it was finished, or that started only after the radiation treatments were completed.

    Researchers have already devoted a lot of attention to how long hormonal therapy should last when its given with radiation. This is now the first study to show that sequence also matters.

    Why would that be the case? Possible explanations center on testosterones capacity to fix genetic damage in irradiated cancer cells. Just how sequencing plays into this repair mechanism isnt known, but Dr. Spratt says the new results point to avenues for further study.

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    What Is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy And What Advantages Does It Offer

    Traditionally, we deliver external beam radiation in 45 to 48 sessions over a span of ten weeks, using very sophisticated computer-based planning and enhanced imaging techniques and tumor tracking during the treatment. This is called image-guided IMRT and it is the current standard of care.

    But there is increasing interest in giving this radiation in shorter courses of treatment. Many of the people we care for have a type of radiation therapy called MSK PreciseTM. MSK Precise is a form of SBRT that can be given in five sessions instead of the usual 45 to 50. MSK has been doing this for the past nine years, and the results in the several hundred people whove been treated have been excellent so far. The treatment is very well tolerated, with outcomes that are at least equivalent to and possibly better than the standard ten weeks of treatment. Because of its superior precision, MSK Precise has less side effects than more conventional radiation techniques, with extremely low rates of incontinence and rectal problems. The sexual side effects are low and similar to what is experienced with conventional external radiation techniques. And of course, its much more convenient for patients.

    For patients with more-advanced tumors, we are completing a phase II trial in which were combining sophisticated brachytherapy approaches with MSK Precise. This kind of combination of dose-intense or escalated radiation may end up being a very effective regimen.

    Radiation Therapy For Prostate Cancer

    Radiation Therapy Side Effects for Prostate Cancer Patients

    Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to kill cancer cells. Depending on the stage of the prostate cancer and other factors, radiation therapy might be used:

    • As the first treatment for cancer that is still just in the prostate gland and is low grade. Cure rates for men with these types of cancers are about the same as those for men treated with radical prostatectomy.
    • As part of the first treatment for cancers that have grown outside the prostate gland and into nearby tissues.
    • If the cancer is not removed completely or comes back in the area of the prostate after surgery.
    • If the cancer is advanced, to help keep the cancer under control for as long as possible and to help prevent or relieve symptoms.

    Also Check: How To Stage Prostate Cancer

    What Is A Late Effect

    A late effect is a side effect related to a cancer diagnosis or treatment that happens months to years after treatment. Some side effects that you develop during treatment can last for months to years after treatment is completed . These are often called long term side effects.

    Late effects can be health issues or psychological, emotional and practical challenges.

    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.

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    What Do I Need To Do To Get Ready For My Imrt Treatment

    Getting ready for IMRT takes a great deal of planning. It can take two to three days for your radiation therapy team to plan your care. After giving you a physical exam and reviewing your medical history, your radiation oncologist will use different tools to plan your treatment. These tools will help your radiation oncologist decide the dose of radiation you need for your prostate cancer and how long your treatment will last.

    Your radiation oncologist may send you to have one or more imaging tests to help plan where the radiation beams will be aimed. The imaging tests your radiation oncologist will use to plan your treatment may include:

    • X-ray this test uses radiation to take a picture of the inside of your body. You may have seen a chest x-ray or x-ray pictures of your teeth or your bones.
    • CT Scan is a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of your prostate cancer and the area around your prostate. You may be given contrast through an I.V. in your arm or to drink by mouth. Contrast will help your prostate cancer show up better during the CT Scan.
    • MRI Scan is a test that uses a large magnet to make pictures of your prostate cancer and the area around your prostate.
    • PET Scan is a test where you are given contrast before you have x-rays taken. The contrast will travel to the parts of your body where your prostate cancer is active. The x-ray will give your doctor a better picture of what your prostate cancer looks like.

    Getting Ready For IMRT

    What Does External Beam Radiotherapy Involve

    Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy For Prostate Cancer ...

    You will have your treatment at a hospital radiotherapy department. Youll see a specialist doctor who treats cancer with radiotherapy, known as a clinical oncologist. You may also see a specialist nurse and a specialist radiographer. Theyll talk to you about your treatment plan and ways to manage any side effects.

    Before your radiotherapy treatment

    Radiotherapy planning session

    A week or two before your treatment, youll have a planning session. This is to make sure the radiographers know the exact position, size and shape of your prostate. It will help them make sure the radiotherapy is aimed at your prostate and that the surrounding areas get as little radiation as possible.

    During your radiotherapy treatment

    You will have one treatment at the hospital five days a week, with a rest over the weekend. You can go home after each treatment.

    If you have localised prostate cancer, the course of radiotherapy usually involves 20 treatment sessions over four weeks. You might hear this called hypo-fractionated radiotherapy.

    At some hospitals, youll have 37 sessions over seven or eight weeks instead. If you have 37 sessions, youll receive a slightly larger overall dose of radiotherapy but the dose you receive at each session will be lower than if you have 20 sessions.

    Its safe for you to be around other people, including children and pregnant women, during your course of radiotherapy. The radiation doesnt stay in your body so you wont give off any radiation.

    Also Check: Best Diet To Fight Prostate Cancer

    Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy

    IMRT, an advanced form of 3D-CRT therapy, is the most common type of external beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer. It uses a computer-driven machine that moves around the patient as it delivers radiation. Along with shaping the beams and aiming them at the prostate from several angles, the intensity of the beams can be adjusted to limit the doses of radiation reaching nearby normal tissues. This lets doctors deliver an even higher radiation dose to the cancer.

    Some newer radiation machines have imaging scanners built into them. This advance, known as image guided radiation therapy , lets the doctor take pictures of the prostate just before giving the radiation to make minor adjustments in aiming. This appears to help deliver the radiation even more precisely and results in fewer side effects.

    A variation of IMRT is called volumetric modulated arc therapy . It uses a machine that delivers radiation quickly as it rotates once around the body. This allows each treatment to be given over just a few minutes. Although this can be more convenient for the patient, it hasnt yet been shown to be more effective than regular IMRT.

    Prostate Cancer Radiation Side Effects

    If you want to have presonalised health answer for as little as 5 usd from a real doctor

    The prostate cancer radiation side effects are to take into account although radiotherapy is your treatment of choice.

    The following table will give you a more clear idea on what the side effects are.

    Diarrhea usually occurs because the cells of the small and large intestine are very sensitive therefore, the radiation therapy harms them very easily.

    Recommended Reading: What Kind Of Pain Does Prostate Cancer Cause

    Treatment Areas And Possible Side Effects

    Part of the Body Being TreatedPossible Side Effects

    Healthy cells that are damaged during radiation treatment usually recover within a few months after treatment is over. But sometimes people may have side effects that do not improve. Other side effects may show up months or years after radiation therapy is over. These are called late effects. Whether you might have late effects, and what they might be, depends on the part of your body that was treated, other cancer treatments you’ve had, genetics, and other factors, such as smoking.Ask your doctor or nurse which late effects you should watch for. See the section on Late Effects to learn more.

    • Posted:May 1, 2018

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    Hormone Therapy Side Effects

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

    Testosterone is the primary male hormone, and plays an important role in establishing and maintaining typical male characteristics, such as body hair growth, muscle mass, sexual desire, and erectile function, and contributes to a host of other normal physiologic processes in the body. The primary systemic

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    Do We Know Which Treatment Is Better For Prostate Cancer Brachytherapy Or External Beam Radiation

    Its not a question of which therapy is better but rather which therapy is the most tailored, pinpointed radiation for the patients specific disease.

    When it comes to early stages of disease, patients very frequently do well with either brachytherapy or external beam radiation. Success rates of around 90% or higher can be achieved with either approach. When the disease is somewhat more advanced based on the PSA level or the Gleason score or visible evidence of disease on an MRI we have learned over the years that higher doses of radiation are critical to achieving better results. Some evidence suggests that for patients with intermediate- or high-risk prostate cancer, a combined approach using brachytherapy along with external beam radiation may be best.

    Data that we have published recently show that for patients with intermediate-risk disease, the combination of external beam radiation with brachytherapy not only provides better biochemical control, in terms of PSA level, but also reduces the risk of distant metastases, or spread of the disease. Another recent study from Canada, which compared outcomes in patients who were treated with external beam radiation or a combination approach, found superior results when the combined approach was used. These studies provide strong evidence that higher doses of radiation provide an important benefit to patients with intermediate-risk and high-risk prostate cancers.

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