If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Chest
Radiation treatment to the chest may cause side effects such as:
- Sore throat
Radiation can also cause other problems in the heart or lungs.
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 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.
If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Abdomen
If you are getting radiation to your stomach or some part of the abdomen , you may have side effects such as:
Eating or avoiding certain foods can help with some of these problems, so diet planning is an important part of radiation treatment of the stomach or abdomen. Ask your cancer care team about what you can expect, and what medicines you should take to help relieve these problems. Check with your cancer care team about any home remedies or over-the-counter drugs youre thinking about using.
These problems should get better when treatment is over.
Some people feel queasy for a few hours right after radiation therapy. If you have this problem, try not eating for a couple of hours before and after your treatment. You may handle the treatment better on an empty stomach. If the problem doesnt go away, ask your cancer care team about medicines to help prevent and treat nausea. Be sure to take the medicine exactly as you are told to do.
If you notice nausea before your treatment, try eating a bland snack, like toast or crackers, and try to relax as much as possible. See Nausea and Vomiting to get tips to help an upset stomach and learn more about how to manage these side effects.
Many people have diarrhea at some point after starting radiation therapy to the abdomen. Your cancer care team may prescribe medicines or give you special instructions to help with the problem. Diet changes may also be recommended, such as:
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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New Publication Of Long
In the U.S., between 2010-2019, nearly 7% of patients diagnosed with prostate cancer had metastatic disease at diagnosis. In 2022, this could translate into more than 18,000 people. Multiple treatment options exist, including combinations of standard androgen deprivation therapy , novel hormonal therapies, and docetaxel. Since 2019, radiation therapy to the prostate has been recommended as an option in addition to medication for patients with relatively fewer metastases.
This recommendation was based on initial results from the STAMPEDE clinical trial showing that among patients whose prostate cancer had spread less , those who received RT to the prostate lived longer than those who did not receive RT. Burden of metastatic disease was defined by the number and location of metastases .
Now, a new publication of long-term results of STAMPEDE confirms the benefit of RT on survival and reports additional outcomes.
Definitions: Low vs. High Burden of Metastases
STAMPEDE is a very large multi-arm, multi-stage trial conducted in Europe that is comparing the efficacy of several different treatment regimens in men with newly-diagnosed metastatic prostate cancer who are starting long-term ADT. Within the overall trial, one arm looked specifically at the benefit of adding RT to ADT. There were two treatment groups , each with more than 1000 patients. 40% of patients had low-burden disease.
Definitions: Low vs. High Burden of Metastases
How Proton Therapy Effectively Treats Prostate Cancer
Proton therapy treats prostate cancer with high doses of radiation that are more accurate, and potentially more effective, than traditional radiation. Our targeted proton beams focus most of their destructive energy at the tumor site, therefore causing less damage to healthy surrounding tissue as they enter the body. Because of this, proton therapy patients dont have to worry about many of the side effects and additional healthy tissue damage that is commonly associated with X-ray therapy.
an effective cancer treatment alternative
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Cancer That Clearly Has Spread
If the cancer has spread outside the prostate, it will most likely go to nearby lymph nodes first, and then to bones. Much less often the cancer will spread to the liver or other organs.
When prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body , hormone therapy is probably the most effective treatment. But it isnt likely to cure the cancer, and at some point it might stop working. Usually the first treatment is a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist, LHRH antagonist, or orchiectomy, sometimes along with an anti-androgen drug or abiraterone. Another option might be to get chemotherapy along with the hormone therapy. Other treatments aimed at bone metastases might be used as well.
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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?
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor Radiographer Or Nurse
- Will I have a planning session at a different time to the treatment, or immediately before?
- Will I have external beam radiotherapy or hormone therapy as well?
- What side effects might I get?
- How will we know if the treatment has worked?
- What should my PSA level be after treatment and how often will you test it?
- If my PSA continues to rise, what other treatments are available?
Entrance And Exit Dose Defined
Entrance dose: The dose of radiation that inadvertently makes contact with normal cells before it reaches the cancerous tissue.
Exit dose: Imagine the radiation hitting the tumor, but then continuing on beyond it, taking out normal cells in its path.
The primary difference between proton therapy and Cyberknife is that protons do not have an exit dose, says Dr. Cavanaugh. Both modalities deliver entrance and target dose.
Many insurers have been unimpressed with the differences in outcomes with proton therapy and have declined to pay.
For many patients I prefer HDR brachytherapy to both proton and Cyberknife therapy. HDR stands for high dose rate.
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Talk With Your Doctor About Side Effects And What To Expect
Your doctor can help you determine whether radiation therapy is right for you.
In addition, an oncologist a doctor specializing in cancer treatment can help you learn how to minimize your chance of developing side effects.
They can also refer you to local support groups where you can get in touch with other people who have undergone or are undergoing the same treatment.
Is Ebrt Right For You
If you were recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and are in the process of reviewing your treatment options, you probably have questions. A prostate cancer specialist in the renowned Urologic Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center can provide the reliable answers you need and help you decide if radiation treatment is right for you.
To rapidly connect with an experienced oncologist at Moffitt, call or complete our new patient registration form online. We provide new patients with access to a cancer expert within one day, which is faster than any other cancer hospital in the nation. You can feel confident that planning for your treatment will begin even before you walk through our doors.
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Radioprotective Drugs For Reducing Side Effects
One way to reduce side effects is by using radioprotective drugs, but these are only used for certain types of radiation given to certain parts of the body. These drugs are given before radiation treatment to protect certain normal tissues in the treatment area. The one most commonly used today is amifostine. This drug may be used in people with head and neck cancer to reduce the mouth problems caused by radiation therapy.
Not all doctors agree on how these drugs should be used in radiation therapy. These drugs have their own side effects, too, so be sure you understand what to look for.
British Columbia Specific Information
Prostate cancer is a cancer of the prostate gland, which is a gland that produces the milky liquid found in semen. Patients with low-risk prostate cancer have a 10-year cancer survival rate of over 99%.
You are considered a low-risk patient if you have a PSA value that is equal or less than 10 nanograms per millilitre , a Gleason score that is equal or less than 6, and your cancer stage is T1c/T2a. PSA is your prostate specific antigen measured by a blood test, the Gleason score indicates how aggressive the cancer is by looking at tissue biopsy results, and the cancer stage describes how much the cancer has spread.
Active surveillance has been developed to allow for careful management of men with low-risk prostate cancer. For more information, visit BC Cancer Agency – Prostate.
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy
This technique uses advanced image guided techniques to deliver large doses of radiation to a precise area, such as the prostate. Because there are large doses of radiation in each dose, the entire course of treatment is given over just a few days.
SBRT is often known by the names of the machines that deliver the radiation, such as Gamma Knife, X-Knife, CyberKnife, and Clinac.
The main advantage of SBRT over IMRT is that the treatment takes less time . The side effects, though, are not better. In fact, some research has shown that some side effects might actually be worse with SBRT than with IMRT.
Surgically Removing The Prostate Gland
A radical prostatectomy is the surgical removal of your prostate gland. This treatment is an option for curing prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate or has not spread very far.
Like any operation, this surgery carries some risks, such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
In extremely rare cases, problems arising after surgery can be fatal.
It’s possible that prostate cancer can come back again after treatment. Your doctor should be able to explain the risk of your cancer coming back after treatment, based on things like your PSA level and the stage of your cancer.
Studies have shown that radiotherapy after prostate removal surgery may increase the chances of a cure, although research is still being carried out into when it should be used after surgery.
After a radical prostatectomy, you’ll no longer ejaculate during sex. This means you will not be able to have a child through sexual intercourse.
You may want to ask your doctors about storing a sperm sample before the operation so it can be used later for in vitro fertilisation .
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What Are The Results Of Using Proton Therapy In Patients
For patients facing prostate cancer, treatments and side effects present unique challenges in choosing a therapy. Proton radiation for prostate cancer treats the disease with successful outcomes and a low risk of side effects.
For thousands with cancer of the prostate, proton therapy has offered an effective, virtually painless option for prostate cancer treatment. Since the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute opened in 2006, thousands have undergone proton therapy for prostate cancer, and prostate cancer patients at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute enjoy a close-knit community of fellow patients, caregivers and spouses. Today, prostate cancer is one of many types of cancer treated at the Institute.
The Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy For Prostate Cancer
There are a few side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, like diarrhea and passing urine regularly.
These side effects often occur after one or two weeks of starting RT. The symptoms can worsen during treatment and after the treatment ends. But you can feel relief after two weeks of treatment.
The side effects that occur in one person may not come in another person. They can vary from person to person. The possible side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer are as follows:
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Proton Beam Radiation Therapy
Proton beam therapy focuses beams of protons instead of x-rays on the cancer. Unlike x-rays, which release energy both before and after they hit their target, protons cause little damage to tissues they pass through and release their energy only after traveling a certain distance. This means that proton beam radiation can, in theory, deliver more radiation to the prostate while doing less damage to nearby normal tissues. Proton beam radiation can be aimed with techniques similar to 3D-CRT and IMRT.
Although in theory proton beam therapy might be more effective than using x-rays, so far studies have not shown if this is true. Right now, proton beam therapy is not widely available. The machines needed to make protons are very expensive, and they arent available in many centers in the United States. Proton beam radiation might not be covered by all insurance companies at this time.
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.
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The Success Rate Of Prostate Surgery
Survival rates can tell you how many people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed. For example, if you have stage 3 colon cancer, there is a 66% chance that 5 years later, you will be alive. But the rates cannot tell you how long you will live. However, they may help give you an idea of how likely your treatment will be successful.
Survival rates are estimates. They are based on data from many people who have had cancer before. These numbers might be confusing because they dont tell you what will happen, but they can help doctors decide treatments. Talk with your doctor to see if these statistics apply to you because they know about your situation.
A relative survival rate tells how likely a person is to survive a particular type of cancer. I.e., if the 5-year close survival rate for prostate cancer is 90%, it means that men who have this type of cancer are about 90% as likely as other men to live a minimum of 5 years after being diagnosed with the disease.
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