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Side Effects From Prostate Radiation Treatment

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How Fertility Might Be Affected

Radiation Therapy Side Effects for Prostate Cancer Patients

For women: Talk to your cancer care team about how radiation might affect your fertility . Its best to do this before starting treatment so you are aware of possible risks to your fertility.

Depending on the radiation dose, women getting radiation therapy in the pelvic area sometimes stop having menstrual periods and have other symptoms of menopause. Report these symptoms to your cancer care and ask them how to relieve these side effects.Sometimes menstrual periods will return when radiation therapy is over, but sometimes they do not.

See Fertility and Women With Cancer to learn more.

For men: Radiation therapy to an area that includes the testicles can reduce both the number of sperm and their ability to function. If you want to father a child in the future and are concerned about reduced fertility, talk to your cancer care team before starting treatment. One option may be to bank your sperm ahead of time.

See Fertility and Men With Cancer to learn more.

Prostate Cancer: Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy, also called X-ray therapy, uses high levels of radiation to kill prostate cancer cells or keep them from growing and dividing while minimizing damage to healthy cells.

Radiation can be given from a machine outside the body and directed at the prostate . Or a surgeon can place radioactive materials into the tumor . These radioactive materials can be temporary or permanent.

Possible Long Term Side Effects

Most side effects gradually go away in the weeks or months after treatment. But some side effects can continue or might start some months or years later. This includes problems getting an erection.

  • Prostate cancer: diagnosis and managementNational Institute for Health and Care Excellence , 2019. Last updated December 2021

  • Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology VT DeVita, TS Lawrence, SA RosenbergWolters Kluwer, 2019

Also Check: What Are The Five Stages Of Prostate Cancer

Does Msk Offer Proton Therapy For Prostate Cancer

Some men with prostate cancer may choose to receive another form of external-beam radiation therapy called proton therapy. Proton therapy can deliver a high radiation dose to the prostate while lowering the radiation dose to normal surrounding tissue. It is unclear if there is any advantage to proton therapy compared with IMRT. We are now studying how these approaches compare in terms of side effects and outcomes at the New York Proton Center. These efforts are being led by radiation oncologist Daniel Gorovets.

Prostate Cancer: Surgery Vs Radiation Vs Cyberknife

Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer Treatment

An analysis of more than a dozen studies indicate that prostate cancer patients do better with surgery vs. radiation treatment especially men with localized prostate cancer.

Patients treated with radiation are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer,one a half times likely to die sooner than prostate cancer patients treated with surgery, exposure to radiation may end in secondary cancers such as bladder cancer and rectal cancer.

Dr. David Samadi explores the details.

When men are diagnosed with prostate cancer it can be extremely confusing at times picking the right treatment option as theres a lot of information out there.

Dr David Samadi says that with any cancer, surgery should be the first line of treatment.

With prostate cancer surgery patients get accurate staging i.e. how much cancer a patient has, has the cancer spread to surrounding tissues the PSA levels which has always got to be zero.

He says that patients are led to believe that radiation is a viable first line of treatment if the cancer comes back, it is extremely difficult to perform surgery after radiation.

Dr. Samadi also explain why it is extremely important to weigh in the experience of the surgeon as working with the right doctor would ensure a better and faster recovery.

Dr. David Samadis patients have a continence percentage of 95% 97% regular sexual functionality in about 80% of prostate cancer patients.

Some prostate cancer facts:

Read Also: What Is Watchful Waiting For Prostate Cancer

Will My Diet Affect My Treatment

Yes. Good nutrition is an important part of recovering from the side effects of radiation therapy.

When you eat well, you have the energy to do the activities you want to do, and your body is able to heal and fight infection. Most importantly, good nutrition can give you a sense of well-being.

Since eating when you don’t feel well can be hard, let your treatment team know if youâre having trouble. You could also consider working with a dietitian. They can help make sure that youâre getting enough nutrition during your radiation therapy.

These tips might help while youâre going through treatment:

Try new foods. Things that you havenât liked in the past may taste better to you during treatment.

Power up with plant-based foods. They can be healthy and tasty substitutes for meat. So for instance, swap out a burger or chicken for beans and peas at a few meals each week.

Eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables. Get your fill of these healthy powerhouses every day. Good options include spinach, raspberries, yellow peppers, carrots, and cauliflower.

Limit or avoid unhealthy choices. That includes red or processed meats, sugary foods and drinks, and processed foods.

Aim to stay at a healthy weight during treatment. You can ask your doctor what your ideal range on the scale should be. Itâs normal to have small weight changes while you go through treatment.

Try to stay physically active. If youâre not active now, you can ask your doctor how to move more and exercise safely.

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.

Also Check: How To Massage My Prostate

Lipid Alterations And Insulin Resistance

Treatment-related changes in body composition are accompanied by adverse metabolic effects. GnRH agonists increase serum total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides.116,144 In a prospective 12-month study, for example, GnRH agonists increased serum total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides by 9.0%, 7.3%, and 26.5%, respectively.142 GnRH agonists increase fasting plasma insulin level, a surrogate for insulin resistance.142,145 In a prospective study of non-diabetic men with prostate cancer initiating GnRH-agonist therapy, fasting plasma insulin levels increased by 26%, and the whole-body insulin sensitivity index decreased by 11%.146

How Can I Reduce Skin Reactions

Side Effects of Surgery Vs Radiation for Prostate Cancer
  • Gently cleanse the treated area using lukewarm water and a mild soap such as Ivory, Dove, Neutrogena, Basis, Castile, or Aveeno Oatmeal Soap. Donât rub. Pat your skin dry with a soft towel or use a hair dryer on a cool setting.
  • Try not to scratch or rub the treated area.
  • Donât put any ointment, cream, lotion, or powder on the treated area unless your radiation oncologist or nurse has prescribed it.
  • Donât wear tight-fitting clothing or clothes made from harsh fabrics like wool or corduroy. These fabrics can irritate the skin. Instead, choose clothes made from natural fibers like cotton.
  • Donât apply medical tape or bandages to the treated area.
  • Donât expose the treated area to extreme heat or cold. Avoid using an electric heating pad, hot water bottle, or ice pack.
  • Donât expose the treated area to direct sunlight. That could intensify your skin reaction and lead to a severe sunburn. Choose a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Protect the treated area from direct sunlight even after your course of treatment is over.

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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.

Prostate Radiation Vs Robotic Prostatectomy

It is not possible to decide which treatment is better or more effective radiation or robotic prostatectomy, due to the fact that everybody has different stages of prostate cancer and other health-related issues. Below are enumerated pros and cons for each type of treatment, but every patient needs to take into account what his doctor is telling and suggesting.

Recommended Reading: Can Prostate Cancer Cause Erectile Dysfunction

What Are Common Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is called a local treatment. This means that it only affects the area of the body that is targeted. For example, radiation therapy to the scalp may cause hair loss. But people who have radiation therapy to other parts of their body do not usually lose the hair on their head.

Common physical side effects of radiation therapy include:

Skin changes. Some people who receive radiation therapy experience dryness, itching, blistering, or peeling. These side effects depend on which part of the body received radiation therapy and other factors. Skin changes from radiation therapy usually go away a few weeks after treatment ends. If skin damage becomes a serious problem, your doctor may change your treatment plan. Lotion may help with skin changes, but be sure to check with your nurse or other health care team about which cream they recommend and when to apply it. It is also best to protect affected skin from the sun. Learn more about skin-related side effects.

Fatigue. Fatigue is a term used to describe feeling tired or exhausted almost all the time. Many patients experience fatigue. Your level of fatigue often depends on your treatment plan. For example, radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy may result in more fatigue. Learn how to cope with fatigue.

Technical Aspects Of Sbrt

Prostate Cancer Side Effects

Stereotactic body radiotherapy uses a 3-dimensional co-ordinate system utilizing internal fiducials or image guidance for tumour tracking and treatment delivery. Cyberknife has the advantage over other SBRT systems in that it is capable of tracking the co-ordinates in real time while the head of the accelerator re-aligns itself to accommodate fluctuations in target position. The delivery of SBRT generally utilizes multiple noncoplanar arcing fields directed at the radiation target. As a result, the dose gradient is much deeper than conventional radiation and irregularly shaped. The dose with SBRT is generally prescribed to the isodose line encompassing the target which allows for an inhomogenous dose delivery in which the core of the target receives a much higher dose. This may be especially advantageous when anticipating a hypoxic core that may harbour resistant clonogens. Stereotactic body radiation fractionation uses doses that may range from 5 to 30 Gy/fraction and often takes into consideration the BED offered by dose escalation.

Stereotactic body radiotherapy is the best tool for sparing parallel normal tissue, abutting planned large volumes. Even several tissues like lung, liver and kidney may benefit when functional subunits are maximally preserved by the deep dose gradients.

Read Also: How Long Can You Live With Stage 2 Prostate Cancer

What Is A Radiation Oncologist

If a patient is undergoing radiation, the cancer treatment plan may be managed by a radiation oncologist who carefully monitors the persons overall health and well-being through the process.

With advanced cancer, a patient may also be referred to a medical oncologist. This specialized doctor uses medicines such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy to treat cancers. Its common for several medical specialists to work together on a treatment plantheyre known as a cancer care team.

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.

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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

Cyberknife Radiation Treatment For Prostate Cancer:

What are the side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer? (Colleen Lawton, MD)

Options for management of localized prostate cancer range from active surveillance/watchful waiting to surgery and various forms of radiation, with or without hormone therapy. The most appropriate option depends on the extent and aggressiveness of the cancer as well as patient preference.

National guidelines recommend CyberKnife stereotactic body radiation therapy as an appropriate treatment option for men with low or intermediate risk disease. In addition, selected patients with Gleason 8 cancers may be candidates for CyberKnife radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

Low Risk Disease is defined as T1-2a, Gleason 6 cancer, and PSA < 10.

Intermediate Risk Disease is defined as T2c or less, and/or Gleason 7 cancer, and/or PSA 10-20.

CyberKnife radiation for prostate cancer has been successfully performed on tens of thousands of men over the past 15 years. No longer considered experimental, numerous studies have demonstrated excellent long-term cancer control with minimal side effects or risks. The CyberKnife system is considered the gold standard for performing prostate SBRT as compared to other radiation machines. Our center is one of the most experienced CyberKnife centers in the Northeast in treating prostate cancer. We have successfully treated hundreds of men with CyberKnife SBRT since 2006.

Recommended Reading: What Causes A Swollen Prostate

Focused Ultrasound Controls Prostate Cancer With Fewer Side Effects

Focal therapy using MRI-guided focused ultrasound is safe and effective for men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer who seek to avoid more invasive treatments, according to the results of a new clinical study. The first-of-its-kind phase 2 trial, described inLancet Oncology, found that two years after treatment, 88% of participants had no evidence of intermediate- or higher-risk prostate cancer in the treated area.

Treatments for intermediate-risk prostate cancer include radical prostatectomy and radiotherapy and are traditionally directed at the whole prostate gland. But men who undergo such treatments often have persistent side effects, such as urinary and sexual problems, that could reduce their quality-of-life. In contrast, focal therapy only treats areas of malignancy within the prostate, preserving normal prostate tissues outside of the treatment margins.

Led by principal investigator Behfar Ehdaie of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the study took place at eight healthcare centres in the USA . The teams treated 101 newly diagnosed patients with grade group 2 or 3 prostate cancer visible on MRI and confirmed on combined biopsy.

Treatments were performed using a closed-loop MRI-guided focused ultrasound system that combines a transrectal ultrasound transducer with MRI of the pelvis. The MR imaging visualizes the target tumour, monitors the therapy with MR thermometry, and evaluates the ablated tissue immediately after treatment.

How Does External Beam Radiation Therapy Work

External beam radiation therapy, or EBRT, uses a machine to direct high-energy X-rays at the cancer in daily doses. The radiation beam is generated by a machine called a linear accelerator or LINAC. Using treatment planning computers and software, your treatment team controls the size and shape of the beam as well as how it is directed at your body to most effectively treat your tumor and minimize damage to surrounding normal tissue.

To minimize side effects, the treatments are typically given five days a week over a six-to-nine week period. The break in days allows the doctors to get enough radiation into the body to kill the cancer while giving healthy cells time to recover.

Watch our expert medical oncologist, Dr. Alicia Morgans from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, discuss external beam radiation therapy:

Also Check: Where Does Prostate Cancer Spread

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