Will Radiation Therapy Make Me Tired
Everyone has their own energy level, so radiation treatment will affect each person differently.
People often feel fatigue after several weeks of treatment. For most, this fatigue is mild. But some people lose a lot of energy and need to change their daily routine.
If your doctor thinks you should limit how active you are, theyâll discuss it with you.
To minimize fatigue while youâre receiving radiation treatment:
- Get enough rest.
- Pace yourself, and plan rest breaks throughout your day.
Prostate Cancer: Radiation Therapy
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.
Sore Skin In The Treatment Area
Your skin in the treatment area might get sore, or redden or darken. Following these tips can help with this:
- Wear loose fitting underwear and clothes. Natural fibres can be more comfortable than man-made fibres.
- Gently wash the area each day. Use mild, unperfumed soap and warm or cool water. Try baby soap or liquid baby wash but check with the radiotherapy staff first.
- Gently pat the skin dry with a soft towel. Rubbing the skin can make it sore.
- Don’t use perfumed lotions on the area. Use only creams or dressings recommended by your specialist or radiographer.
- Don’t use talcum powder because it can contain tiny metal particles. The particles can make the soreness worse.
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Management Of Bowel Dysfunction
Short of treating individual symptoms as needed, there are few, if any, treatment options for bowel dysfunction following radiation therapy. Laser therapy can stop rectal bleeding caused by radiation. Anti-diarrheal agents can help with loose bowel movements. Increasing fiber intake through whole grains, fruits and vegetables, or fiber supplements can also help.Avoiding foods that might irritate the gastrointestinal tract is important, but complete elimination of fibrous, bulky foods can lead to constipation and straining, which in turn can exacerbate rectal bleeding.
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
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What Are The Stages Of Prostate Cancer
Your healthcare provider uses the Gleason score and Grade Groups to stage prostate cancer based on its projected aggressiveness. To get this information, the pathologist:
- Assigns a grade to each type of cell in your sample. Cells are graded on a scale of three to five . Samples that test in the one to two range are considered normal tissue.
- Adds together the two most common grades to get your Gleason score .
- Uses the Gleason score to place you into a Grade Group ranging from one to five. A Gleason score of six puts you in Grade Group 1 . A score of nine or higher puts you in Grade Group five . Samples with a higher portion of more aggressive cells receive a higher Grade Group.
Your Role On Your Radiation Therapy Team
Youll have a team of healthcare providers working together to care for you. Youre part of that team, and your role includes:
- Getting to your appointments on time.
- Asking questions and talking about your concerns.
- Telling someone on your radiation therapy team when you have side effects.
- Telling someone on your radiation therapy team if youre in pain.
- Caring for yourself at home by:
- Quitting smoking, if you smoke. If you want to quit, call our Tobacco Treatment Program at .
- Caring for your skin as instructed.
- Drinking liquids as instructed.
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Radiopharmaceuticals That Target Psma
Prostate-specific membrane antigen is a protein that is often found in large amounts on prostate cancer cells.
Lutetium Lu 177 vipivotide tetraxetan is a radiopharmaceutical that attaches to PSMA, bringing radiation directly to the prostate cancer cells.
This drug can be used to treat prostate cancer that has spread and that has already been treated with hormone therapy and chemotherapy. The cancer cells must also have the PSMA protein. Your doctor will order a PSMA PET scan before you get this drug to make sure the cancer cells have PSMA.
This drug is given as an injection or infusion into a vein , typically once every 6 weeks for up to 6 doses.
Possible side effects
Some of the more common side effects of this drug include:
- Feeling tired
This drug can lower blood cell counts:
- A low red blood cell count can cause tiredness, weakness, pale skin, or shortness of breath.
- A low blood platelet count can lead to bleeding or bruising more easily than normal, or bleeding that is hard to stop.
- A low white blood cell count can lead to an increased risk of infections, which might show as a fever, chills, sore throat, or mouth sores.
This drug might damage the kidneys. Your doctor or nurse will likely advise you to drink plenty of fluids and to urinate often before and after getting this drug, to help protect the kidneys. Tell your doctor or nurse if you start to pass less urine than is normal for you.
An Inclusive Clinical Trial
The team designed the phase 3 trial to be as inclusive as possible to capture a population that looks like people commonly treated in the community, Dr. Buyyounouski explained. The participants included both people getting radiation immediately after surgery and those who waited until they had rising PSA levels.
Participants who had some invasion of their cancer into nearby tissue were eligible, although those whose cancer had spread to their lymph nodes were excluded. They could also receive up to 6 months of androgen deprivation therapy, a type of hormone therapy, if recommended by their doctor.
Participants were randomly assigned to treatment with HYPORT, consisting of a higher dose of radiation every weekday for 5 weeks or the commonly used, lower dose every weekday for 7 weeks. They were asked about urinary and bowel symptoms before radiation and 6, 12, and 24 months after treatment, using the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite questionnaire.
After prostate cancer treatments, common urinary symptoms can include urine leakage or pain or burning when urinating. Common bowel symptoms can include bowel leakage or urgency. The trial did not measure sexual side effects, such as erectile dysfunction, since these can also be affected by hormone therapy.
About three-quarters of the participants completed all questionnaires. At the end of treatment, people who received HYPORT reported more bowel side effects, although urinary side effects were equivalent between groups.
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Early And Late Effects Of Radiation Therapy
- Early side effects happen during or shortly after treatment. These side effects tend to be short-term, mild, and treatable. Theyre usually gone within a few weeks after treatment ends. The most common early side effects are fatigue and skin changes. Other early side effects usually are related to the area being treated, such as hair loss and mouth problems when radiation treatment is given to this area.
- Late side effects can take months or even years to develop. They can occur in any normal tissue in the body that has received radiation. The risk of late side effects depends on the area treated as well as the radiation dose that was used. Careful treatment planning can help avoid serious long-term side effects. Its always best to talk to your radiation oncologist about the risk of long-term side effects.
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Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy To Your Prostate
Some people have side effects from radiation therapy. The type and severity of side effects varies from person to person. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about what to expect based on your medical history and specific treatment plan.
This section explains the most common side effects of radiation therapy to the prostate. You may have all, some, or none of these. Most of these side effects will go away several weeks to months after you finish radiation therapy. If you have any of these side effects, your healthcare provider will give you more information and help you manage them.
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Life After Prostate Cancer Treatment
Adjusting to life after prostate cancer treatment can take time. For some men, the emotional impact of what they have been through may not hit them until they have finished treatment. For others, working through the physical side effects is their immediate focus.
Although prostate cancer treatment can be lifesaving, it can also take a toll on the body. This can result in a disruption to normal urinary, bowel and sexual function.
Whether you have surgery, radiation or hormone therapy, you are likely to have side effects.
“It’s important to talk with your health care provider about these side effects before you start treatment, so you can learn about the range of options to treat them,” says Anne Calvaresi, DNP, CRNP, RNFA, Urology Nurse Practitioner at the Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.
Image Guided Radiation Therapy
This treatment uses radiation machines that contain scanners. These machines produce photos of the prostate gland prior to administering each dose of radiation. This allows for constant adjustments that provide precise delivery and dosing.
Volumetric modulated arc therapy is a variation of IGRT that provides faster treatments. It utilizes a radiation machine that circles the body once while delivering radiation.
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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.
Treatment Options For Men With Urinary Symptoms After Radiation For Prostate Cancer
Many men benefit from medical treatment to help them with urinary symptoms during IMRT, CyberKnife, proton beam, or brachytherapy. These medications include alpha-blockers such as Flomax, alpha-reductase inhibitors such as finasteride or Proscar, and anticholinergic medications such as Detrol, or Vesicare.
When medical treatment does not provide sufficient benefit or of the symptoms persist, other treatment options offered at New York Urology Specialists include Urolift procedure, Rezum procedure, iTind for prostate, Greenlight laser of the prostate, Botox injections in the bladder, and TURP.
It should be noted that men with urinary symptoms after radiation therapy for prostate cancer should have a cystoscopy at a minimum to exclude urethral stricture disease and bladder tumors. Some men may also benefit from a urodynamic evaluation.
Did you know?Dr. Shteynshlyuger has performed over 1,000 surgeries and procedures for enlarged prostate, including Rezum, Urolift, prostate enucleation, laser ablation of the prostate, and TURP. He performs over 100 prostate procedures a year.
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A Large Role For Radiation Therapy
People diagnosed with localized prostate cancerthat is, disease that hasnt spread outside the prostate regionhave many potential treatment options, depending on the stage and grade . Some may have surgery alone. Others may only have radiation therapy.
And some may have a combination of the two. This often happens when theres concern that surgery hadnt removed all the tumor tissue. Or, if someones prostate-specific antigen levels start to rise months or years after surgery, radiation therapy may be recommended even if imaging hasnt been able to identify tumor growth.
Hypofractionated radiation therapy is already an accepted treatment option for some people undergoing radiation therapy alone to treat prostate cancer. But whether this type of radiation therapy is appropriate for use after surgery has been unclear.
When radiation is used after surgery, it’s delivered to a larger area of the body, including sensitive areas in the bladder and rectum, Dr. Buyyounouski explained. This raises the possibility that the higher doses used in hypofractionation may cause long-term side effects that could outweigh the benefit of two fewer weeks of treatment for these patients.
And a lot of people do have some urinary complications after surgery, said Dr. Citrin. So even a small increase in urinary or bowel symptoms that persist after treatment with one regimen versus the other could be quite impactful in terms of quality of life.
Common Urinary Problems After Imrt Cyberknife Proton Beam And Brachytherapy For Prostate Cancer
It is not uncommon for men to experience urinary problems during or after radiotherapy for prostate cancer. In most men, urinary symptoms improve spontaneously after the completion of radiation. In some men, the symptoms persist or become worse. For these men, treatment options are available to help them with urinary symptoms after radiation therapy for prostate cancer.
Most commonly urinary symptoms during radiotherapy for prostate cancer include the following:
- Frequent urination
- urinary retention
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Who Might Benefit From Radiation Therapy
Your doctor might recommend radiation therapy in several situations.
It can be the first treatment for cancer that hasnât spread outside your prostate gland and is âlow grade.â The grade is a number that tells you how abnormal your cancer cells look under a microscope. The lower the grade, the more normal-looking your cancer cells are â and, in general, the more likely your cancer is slow-growing.
Radiation, along with hormone therapy, might also be part of your first cancer treatment if the disease has spread beyond your prostate into nearby tissues.
If you get surgery for prostate cancer, your doctor might recommend you get radiation therapy afterward, too. It can be helpful if the surgeon couldnât remove all of the cancer or if the cancer comes back in the area of your prostate.
If you have advanced prostate cancer, radiation could help keep the disease under control for as long as possible. It can also help prevent or ease symptoms that the cancer might cause.
What Happens After Radiation Therapy Treatment Ends
Once treatment ends, you will have follow-up appointments with the radiation oncologist. It’s important to continue your follow-up care, which includes:
Checking on your recovery
Watching for treatment side effects, which may not happen right away
As your body heals, you will need fewer follow-up visits. Ask your doctor for a written record of your treatment. This is a helpful resource as you manage your long-term health care.
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Why Are There Marks On My Skin
Your radiation therapist will make small marks resembling freckles on your skin along the treatment area. These marks provide targets for the treatment and are a semi-permanent outline of your treatment area.
Donât try to wash these marks off or retouch them if they fade. The therapist will re-mark the treatment area when necessary.
What Are The Different Types Of Radiation Treatments
Radiation therapy uses concentrated doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and reduce the size of tumors. Depending on the type of cancer present in the body, one of two types of radiation therapy may be used.
External beam radiation therapy uses a large machine to send radiation into the specific area containing cancer. The radiation machine never touches the body, but it does move around to deliver radiation into precise parts of the body. External beam radiation is the most common type of treatment for many cancers.
Internal radiation therapy, on the other hand, uses a solid or liquid radiation source to physically deliver radiation inside the body. If a solid source of radiation is used, it only targets a specific part of the body for localized treatment, especially for cancers of the head, neck, breast, cervix, prostate, and eye. If a liquid source of radiation is used, its considered a systemic therapy that travels through the blood into tissues throughout the entire body.
Radiation therapy is often used in conjunction with other treatments or surgeries to target cancer in the most strategic way possible. Its often used to make surgery easier by shrinking the size of the tumor beforehand. Radiation therapy is even used during surgery to go straight into cancer cells without passing through the skin.
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How Prostate Cancer Is Treated
In cancer care, different types of doctorsincluding medical oncologists, surgeons, and radiation oncologistsoften work together to create an overall treatment plan that may combine different types of treatments to treat the cancer. This is called a multidisciplinary team. Cancer care teams include a variety of other health care professionals, such as palliative care experts, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, oncology nurses, social workers, pharmacists, counselors, dietitians, physical therapists, and others.
The common types of treatments used for prostate cancer are described below. Your care plan may also include treatment for symptoms and side effects, an important part of cancer care.
Treatment options and recommendations depend on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, possible side effects, and the patients preferences and overall health.
Cancer treatment can affect older adults in different ways. More information on the specific effects of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy on older patients can be found another section of this website.
Because most prostate cancers are found in the early stages when they are growing slowly, you usually do not have to rush to make treatment decisions. During this time, it is important to talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of all your treatment options and when treatment should begin. This discussion should also address the current state of the cancer: