When prostate cancer patients consider treatment options like radiation therapy, they often have a lot of questions. Willamette Valley Cancer Institute oncologists are here to help you make the best decisions for your individual situation.
“There’s a lot of misinformation and fear about radiation so I schedule extra time with patients,” says radiation oncologist Dr. David Fryefield. “We sit and talk and work our way through their questions and concerns.”
One challenge in treating the prostate is its location in the body. “It’s deep in the pelvis. The bladder sits right on top and the rectum sits right behind,” Dr. Fryefield says. “In the past, it was hard to treat the prostate and miss those other really important organs.”
But radiation therapy has come a long way. It is now delivered through several precise methods, resulting in fewer side effects for the patient.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) with SmartArc
Our bodies, including cancer tumors, are three-dimensional. Using a system called SmartArc, doctors can deliver IMRT directly to the prostate in a single rotation around the patient, for precise and efficient treatments.
“It is highly computer-controlled radiation and we can very carefully control where the radiation goes and where it doesn’t go,” says Dr. Fryefield.
SmartArc treatments typically take between 50 percent and 60 percent less time to deliver than standard IMRT.
Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
Tumors move in the body and organs shift. IGRT utilizes frequent imaging during a course of radiation therapy, tracking changes in the patient’s body that may shift the exact location of the cancer.
“We take a CAT scan of the patient each day prior to treatment,” says Dr. Fryefield. “We find out where the target is, set the treatment up in a very precise manner and then deliver the radiation in a controlled way. The combination of all those things leaves the patient with fewer side effects.”
IGRT is used in conjunction with Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), such as in Calypso where electromagnetic transponders are implanted into the prostate for ultra-precise radiation treatment delivery.
For more information about prostate cancer and treatment options, click here.