Radiation is one of the methods that is used to treat prostate cancer. It is also referred to as X-ray therapy and involves using high radiation levels to destroy the cancer cells in the prostate or prevent them from dividing or growing farther. Prostate cancer radiation also aims at reducing any damage to the healthy cells in the prostate. This radiation is carried out in several ways. External radiation is done by directing radiation emitted from a machine on the prostrate. Internal radiation is done by inserting radiation producing materials using thin plastic tubes into the cancerous tumor in the prostate. The materials are temporarily removed from the tumor after reaching the right dose and put back during the next round of treatment.
External prostate cancer radiation treatment is one of the most used methods to treat prostate cancer at the early stages. It is also used in relieving bone pain, which results from the cancer spreading to the bone.
External radiation therapy usually takes place at regular sessions, usually five days in a week for a span of eight to nine weeks. During the external prostate cancer radiation, the patient is placed on the table at the right position by the therapist. The therapist only starts the treatment after ensuring the patient is comfortable and relaxed. The patient is closely observed during the treatment session and the room is equipped with an intercom and camera for easier communication. The patient is expected to remain still and inform the therapist of any discomfort during treatment. The therapist will reposition the machine frequently and also help the patient in changing their position. There is no pain experienced during this process as the machine does not touch the patient. A port film is taken during the start of the treatment and every week thereafter to ensure that the treatment is being directed on the right place.
Before starting the radiation therapy, the therapist will make small marks on the patient’s skin to demarcate the treatment area. These marks resemble freckles and are semi-permanent. Patients are advised not to wash off these marks or redraw them if they fade. These marks help in outlining the precise treatment area so that radiation is directed there.
Prostate cancer radiation treatment is associated with various side effects, such as sore skin around the genital region, diarrhea, bladder inflammation and loss of pubic hair. Patients are advised to work with a dietician, who will recommend a good diet that helps in recovering from the mentioned side effects.
The Prostate Cancer Research Institute is a charitable institution that is intended to improve the quality of men’s lives by supporting the research and disseminating information about what causes prostate cancer. It also helps to create awareness and empowers patients, families and the medical community.