Prostate cancer radiation therapy is one of the many methods used to treat prostate cancer. The main objective of this therapy is to kill off the cancerous cells and to reduce the size of the tumors. This is accomplished by the use of a special device known as linear accelerator that is able produce high intensity x-rays to kill the cancer cells.
Besides that, there is also another commonly used radiation therapy for prostate cancer. This therapy involves implanting a low level radiation emitting radioisotopes into the patient’s prostate. Known as seed implantation radiation therapy, the radiations emitted by the radioisotopes is able to help doctors pinpoint the exact location of the tumor and also enables them to have the full view of the shape and size of the diseased prostate. Typically the radiation emitted can last up to one year.
Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy
The grade of these cancerous cells can be easily identified and graded with the use of a microscope. Health professionals grade these cancer cells by their aggressiveness – the rate at which they spread. Using Gleason system with grading values ranging from 2 to 10 where 2 being the least aggressive and 10 being the most aggressive, these professionals identify the cells by their edges.
An aggressive fast spreading cancer cells have uneven edges and look much dispersed whereas the less aggressive ones have well defined edges as well as looking more congregated. Two different types of radiation emitting isotopes are used, they are palladium-103 and iodine-125. The former is used for treating the aggressive cancer cells while the latter is used to treat the less aggressive cells.
Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy Side Effects
Although they are effective in treating prostate cancer, there are also some risks and side effects involved. The risks include trouble ejaculating, difficulties in obtaining and maintaining erection as well as the risk of urinary incontinence. This kind of prostate cancer treatment is generally applied for patients categorized under stage 2 and stage 3 prostate cancer.
With the advancement of technologies and new research breakthroughs, more and more effective methods of treatment options and clinical trials are available. Even anti-cancer vaccine are currently underway in the hope of finding the ultimate solution for treating prostate cancer once and for all.