Prostate cancer is a serious condition of the prostate gland that affects the elderly men. It is accompanied by various symptoms that are undesirable and frustrating to deal with. If untreated, it leads to the death of the prostate cancer patient.
To prevent the undesirable effects of prostate cancer, there are various treatment procedures at your disposal. This includes the use of medications, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and surgery among others. Each type of treatment is accompanied by some short or long-term side effects and some even lead to adverse effects.
In this article, we will concentrate on radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer. It is used to treat more than 60% of patients with cancer. In fact, in some cases, it is the only kind of treatment required. We will help you to understand how it works, it benefits and possibly the radiotherapy side effects that are associated with it.
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Radiation Therapy: What it is?
This therapy, also known as radiotherapy, is a cancer treatment procedure that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancerous cells and shrink the tumor as well. At low doses, this procedure is used as an x-ray.
This therapy can be internal or external or both form. For external beam, a machine that is outside your body aims at the cancerous cells. For internal therapy, the radiations are placed inside your body inside or near the cancer.
For radiotherapy for prostate cancer, high-energy rays are used to kill the cancer cells. This treatment procedure does not cause pain. However, it may result in various side effects that might cause pain and make you feel uncomfortable. The good thing is that there are numerous ways to manage radiotherapy side effects with the help of your radiation oncologist.
How does Radiotherapy Treatment Work?
Radiation therapy works by use of high doses of radiation to kill or slow down its growth rate. In prostate cancer treatment it is used to kill the cancerous cells or slow the growth rate. It also kills the nearby healthy cells as it kills the cancerous cells.
Where curing the cancer is impossible, radiotherapy is used to reduce the symptoms such as pain caused by cancer tumor. It can also be used to prevent the problems that result from cancer tumor such as loss of bowel and bladder control, blindness etc.
Here are different types of radiations and how they work:
Types of Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer
External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)
In this type of therapy, a machine outside the body is used to focus the beams of radiation on the prostate gland. It is used to treat early stages of cancer and helps to relieve you from symptoms such as pain.
Before the procedure, you will undergo simulation, which is a planning session. During this session, the radiation team takes measurements to find the correct angles for aiming the beams and the proper dosage.
There are various types of EBRT namely:
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
- Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT)
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)
- Proton beam radiation therapy
Brachytherapy (Internal Radiation Therapy)
This procedure utilizes small radiotherapy pellets each about the size of a rice grain. The pellets are placed directly into your prostate gland. It is normally used with prostate cancer at its early-stage. When combined with EBRT, it is used in men with high risk of cancer growing outside the prostate gland. It is not suitable for men with a large prostate gland.
Various types of Brachytherapy:
- Permanent (low dose rate) brachytherapy
- PTemporary (high dose rate) brachytherapy
When is Radiation Therapy Used?
There are some instances where the practitioners opt for radiotherapy for prostate cancer as opposed to other forms of treatment. Here are some of the situations in which radiation therapy may be used:
- As the first treatment of cancer, which is still confined to the prostate gland.
- It is used along with hormone therapy during the first treatment for prostate cancer that has extended the nearby tissues.
- After the reoccurrence of cancer in the area, it was before surgery.
- To keep cancer under control and relieve you from the symptoms for as long as possible if the cancer is advanced.
What are the Dangers of Radiotherapy Prostate Cancer Treatment?
Radiotherapy is considered effective for treatment of cancer with a success rate of above 90%. But is it safe for prostate cancer treatment? Does it cause any side effects? And if yes, are radiation therapy side effects reversible?
Well, radio frequency is pain-free and considered safe for prostate cancer treatment. To help you understand the safety of this procedure we shall look at both the short and long-term side effects resulting from this treatment.
Short-term Side Effects of Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer
They tend to occur after the treatment and lasts for few days to weeks. These radiation therapy side effects are mild and tolerable. There are numerous ways to deal with them. They include:
- Skin reaction
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss in your pubic area
- Problems during urinating – Problems during urinating and other such urine problems can be reduced using a prostate health supplement. You can take a quick scan of PT9 Premium Prostate Health Formula Review which might reduce the problem while urinating.
Long-Term Side Effects of Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer
Studies show that over time, men who have undergone this procedure, tend to develop long-term side effects. However, these radiotherapy side effects are less common and occur only when the radiation damages your body. These side effects that are likely to develop after some years are:
- Urinary leakage
- Erectile dysfunction
- Bowel urgency
- Second cancer
Radiotherapy has become the most popular form of treatment for prostate cancer being sought after. It is believed to be 99% effective in treating cancerous cells. However, it is associated with long-term side effects.
The presence of an alternative treatment is welcome, especially if the side effects are less severe. It is always important to first consider the side effects of any procedure before embarking on it unless you have no any option left for you.
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