Prostate Cancer Treatment
Proton Therapy Treatment for Prostate Cancer
Proton therapy is the most advanced and precise form of radiation therapy, making it one of the most important prostate cancer options. With protons, a high dose of radiation can be delivered directly to the tumor, while sparing much of the adjacent bladder and rectum from unnecessary radiation. Studies have shown that of all the prostate treatment options, treating prostate cancer with proton therapy results in excellent rates of cancer control with very low rates of serious bowel or bladder complications.7
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among men, usually growing slowly and remaining in the prostate gland. A man’s risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, most common in men 65 and older. A family history of prostate cancer and obesity are other risk factors. If detected early, there are many prostate cancer treatment options, including proton therapy for prostate cancer.
Symptoms of prostate cancer tend to appear in the early stages. If you experience one or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks, see your doctor. These symptoms may include:
- Painful or burning urination
- Inability to urinate or difficulty in starting to urinate
- Difficulty trying to hold back urination
- Weak or interrupted urine flow
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Trouble emptying the bladder completely
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Continual pain in the lower back, pelvis, hips or thighs
- Difficulty having an erection
In order to test for prostate cancers, physicians may complete a digital rectal exam (DRE) in which the prostate is physically examined for irregularities in texture, size, or shape via the rectum, which is adjacent to the prostate. Your physician may also complete a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, in which a blood sample is collected and analyzed for PSA, a substance naturally produced by the prostate gland. If a higher than normal level of PSA is found, it may indicate various prostate issues, including cancer. After completing these tests, a doctor may recommend an ultrasound or a prostate biopsy to determine whether or not cancer is present.
Although prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in American men, the survival rate is high if detected and treated early in its development. That’s where proton therapy comes in. Proton therapy targets specific treatment areas, allowing higher doses to be administered with fewer side effects and little impact to the surrounding healthy organs and tissues. In fact, with proton therapy, a 5 percent recurrence rate can be reached for prostate cancer, with just a 12 percent chance of complications and acute side effects. Compare that to traditional x-ray therapy, in which a 20 percent recurrence rate also means a 60 percent chance of complications and acute side effects. Researchers report that 99% (low risk), 94% (intermediate risk) and 74% (high risk) of men treated with proton therapy have no signs of cancer recurrence after five years of follow-up.
Proton therapy is non-invasive and patients will be able to remain in one position during treatment time. Due to proton therapy’s targeted approach, studies have found that prostate cancer patients treated using this method have a significantly reduced risk of impotence, with 94% of men reporting that they remain sexually active after treatment.
With proton therapy, the rectum and bladder receive much less radiation compared to traditional radiation. Men treated with proton therapy have a very low risk of long-term side effects, such as incontinence and bowel damage.
With traditional radiation, more healthy tissue around the tumor receives radiation. The extra dose to healthy tissue from x-ray therapy is equivalent to smoking four packs of cigarettes a day for a year. In the chart below, the grey/white areas indicate no radiation exposure, while the colored areas indicate radiation exposure.
The Benefits of Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer Treatment
5% higher 5-year overall survival in intermediate risk.1
Patients who received proton therapy report highest quality of life compared to surgery, x-ray, or brachytherapy patients.2
35% less radiation to the bladder and 59% less radiation to the rectum.3
42% reduction in relative risk of developing a secondary malignancy.4
50% reduction in treatment related bowel frequency and urgency at 2 years.5
21% lower risk of urinary toxicity at 2 years.5
25% lower risk of erectile dysfunction at 2 years.6
Your physician may also complete a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, in which a blood sample is collected and analyzed for PSA, a substance naturally produced by the prostate gland. If a higher than normal level of PSA is found, it may indicate various prostate issues, including cancer.
After completing these tests, a doctor may recommend an ultrasound or a prostate biopsy to determine whether or not cancer is present.
Provision uses Space OAR Gel for added protection.
Provisions best practices for treatment quality assurance inclused one-time administration of Space OAR Gel to reduce risk of unnecessary radaition to nearby healthy tissue and organs to the prostate during treatment.
SpaceOAR Hydrogel Pushes the Rectum Out of the High Dose Radiation Field. The hydrogel spacer is injected during a minimally invasive procedure, and — once in place — patients typically can’t feel it. The hydrogel is safe and similar to other products used in brain surgery, cardiology and ophthalmology. It remains in place for 3 months during radiation treatment and is then absorbed and leaves the body in the patient’s urine — leaving nothing behind.
A Little Space Makes a Big Difference™
Placed between the prostate and rectum, SpaceOAR hydrogel pushes the rectum out of the high dose radiation region. Like prostate cancer cells, cells in the rectum are also damaged by the high dose radiation. That’s why the rectum is called the Organ At Risk (OAR) during prostate radiation therapy.
Anatomy without SpaceOAR System
The rectum is next to the prostate complicating prostate radiation therapy.
Anatomy with SpaceOAR System
The SpaceOAR Spacer pushes the rectum away from the prostate, decreasing rectal injury during prostate RT.
- Sources and Studies
Sources and Studies:
1.Proton Therapy Is Associated with Superior Survival and Decreased Risk of Complications Compared to IMRT for Intermediate Risk Prostate Cancer: A Medicare/SEER Database Study.
2.Bryant Survey Results.
3.Dose–Volume Comparison of Proton Therapy and Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer. Read More
4.Proton Therapy Is Associated with Superior Survival and Decreased Risk of Complications Compared to IMRT for Intermediate Risk Prostate Cancer: A Medicare/SEER Database Study.
5.Comparative Effectiveness Study of Patient-Reported Outcomes following Proton Therapy or IMRT for Prostate Cancer. Read More
6.Comparative toxicity and cost of Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy, Proton Radiation, and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy Among Younger Men With Prostate Cancer. Read More
7. Zietman AL, Bae K, Slater JD, et al. Randomized trial comparing conventional-dose with high dose conformal radiation therapy in early-stage adenocarcinoma of the prostate: long-term results from proton radiation oncology group/american college of radiology 95-09. J. Clin. Oncol. 2010; 28(7): 1106-111
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, life’s focus turns to cancer treatment, quality of life, care, and cure. During this journey, there are a myriad of emotions, and there is no greater comfort than connecting with someone who has been down this path before.View All Stories