What is Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer?
Radioactive particles, or rays, are utilised in radiation therapy to cure prostate cancer. Radiation therapy employs high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays and protons, to destroy cancer cells.
For stage 4 prostate cancer, radiation therapy involves extensive equipment that rotates around your body, focusing energy beams on the cancerous spot (external beam radiation therapy). Several radiation therapies can be utilised for prostate cancer's different conditions and stages.
- Radiation therapy is a treatment used to treat cancer and alleviate its symptoms.
- Radiation treatment can cure cancer, prevent it from recurring, or stop or decrease its progression when used to treat it.
Alternate Name of Radiation Therapy
- X-ray therapy
How radiation therapy for prostate cancer is performed?
- External radiation treatment involves regular sessions over a five- to eight-week period. The radiation therapist will assist you in getting onto the treatment table and into the proper posture for each session.
- The therapy room has cameras and an intercom, so the therapist can always see and hear you. If you have any concerns or are uncomfortable, consult the therapist immediately.
- On the first day of treatment and usually once a week after that, the radiation therapist will take a port film, commonly known as an X-ray.
- Port films are critical in assisting therapists in ensuring that the radiation is administered to the specific part that requires therapy.
Preparation for Radiation Therapy
- During radiation therapy, it's also advisable to avoid salty, spicy, or acidic meals. The care team can offer nutrient-based oral care products if you get mucositis or mouth sores from cancer therapy.
- It would be best to be well hydrated before your radiation treatment, which entails consuming enough fluid. In the weeks leading up to your CT scan and therapy and throughout your treatment, doctors usually recommend drinking 2-3 litres of water throughout the day.
- Prostate cancer patients should avoid foods that generate gas since this may interfere with treatment preparation. Asparagus, beans, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, peppers, and spicy meals are just a few foods that produce gas.
There are various types of radiation therapy for prostate cancer treatment.
- External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)
- Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
- Image-guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
- Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)
- Radium-223 Therapy
- Proton Beam Therapy
- Brachytherapy (internal radiation)
- Radiopharmaceuticals (a radioactive substance present in medicine used to detect or treat diseases, such as cancer).
- After you've finished your radiation treatments, you'll visit your radiation oncologist in 3 to 6 weeks.
- Before the follow-up session, your radiation oncologist may request another scan (CT, PET, or MRI) and monitor the health conditions.
- Increase your consumption of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Reduce your intake of high-calorie meals and beverages and saturated fat.
- Consider consulting a dietitian if you're having issues with your body's ability to absorb nutrients from meals.
- Maintain a weekly physical activity level of at least 150 minutes.
- Avoid the consumption of alcohol.
- Stop smoking or using other tobacco products.
What are the Risks of Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer Treatment?
The following is a list of the risk factors of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, including
- Radiation proctitis (rectal inflammation)
- Radiation cystitis (bladder inflammation)
- Urinary or rectal bleeding
- Narrowing of the rectum or urethra
Some of the side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer are
- Hair loss
- Frequent urination
- Erectile dysfunction
Recovery From Prostate Cancer
Radiation therapy is a treatment that uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy prostate cancer cells. External-beam radiation therapy had a cure rate of 95% in men with localised prostate cancer. Overall, this therapy has a 3-5-year survival rate of 90%.
Consult a dietician if you're having trouble eating or losing your appetite. They can assist you in ensuring that you get enough nourishment while undergoing radiation therapy.
When you eat healthily, you have more energy to do what you want, and your body can heal and fight illness more effectively. Most importantly, a balanced diet will make you feel better.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What Is Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer?
Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy utilises high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells within the prostate gland. This treatment may be delivered externally using a machine called a linear accelerator. It may also be delivered internally using radioactive seeds implanted directly into the prostate. Non-invasive treatments such as external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), minimally invasive brachytherapy, precision-based intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) are being recognised for their effective outcomes in prostate cancer patients.
What are Some Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy?
Common side effects may include fatigue, urinary problems such as frequency, urgency or incontinence, bowel problems such as diarrhoea or rectal bleeding, and sexual dysfunction. Some side effects of Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy may vary depending on the type of radiation used, the dose and the individual patient. The severity of side effects, as well as their duration, can differ from one individual to another.
Is Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy Safe?
Technological advancements have significantly improved the safety of radiation therapy for prostate cancer. However, some risks associated with radiation therapy are damage to healthy tissues near the prostate, including the bladder or rectum, and an increased risk of secondary cancers.
How Long Does Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy Take?
The duration of Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy varies depending on the patient and their specific treatment plan. External beam radiation therapy typically involves daily treatment sessions over several weeks, while brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy) may be a single treatment or a series of treatments over a few days.
How Effective Is Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy?
Radiation therapy for prostate cancer is a highly effective treatment option for those with prostate cancer. Radiation therapy is also used as an adjuvant line of treatment alongside hormone therapy, especially in advanced cases. The success of this therapy depends on factors such as the stage and grade of the cancer, the patient's overall health, and the technology and experience of the radiation oncology team.
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