Your Treatment Options
External Beam Therapy for Prostate Cancer
External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is a widely used and effective treatment option for prostate cancer that uses a focused beam of radiation to target and destroy cancer cells in the prostate gland.
It is a non-invasive treatment option that delivers radiation from an external machine, known as a linear accelerator (linac). The linac generates high-energy X-rays or protons that penetrate the body and precisely target the prostate, while minimizing radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissues.
External beam therapy for prostate cancer is commonly used as a primary treatment option for localized prostate cancer but may also be employed in cases of recurrent or advanced prostate cancer. The frequency of EBRT varies depending on the treatment plan and the specific technique employed.
Types of External Beam Therapy:
- Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT): SBRT delivers a high dose of radiation in a few sessions, typically completed within one to two weeks. This technique offers the advantage of shorter treatment duration, while still providing effective tumor control and an acceptable side effect profile.
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): IMRT delivers precise and customized radiation doses to the prostate using multiple beams that can be adjusted in intensity. This technique allows for improved tumor targeting while reducing radiation exposure to adjacent healthy tissues.
- Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT): IGRT utilizes advanced imaging techniques, such as CT scans or MRI, to guide the delivery of radiation with pinpoint accuracy. It ensures accurate targeting of the prostate, even if slight position changes occur during treatment sessions.
Benefits of External Beam Therapy:
- Effective Tumor Control: EBRT has proven high success rates in treating localized prostate cancer.
- Non-Invasive: As an external treatment modality, EBRT does not involve any surgical procedures and is generally painless.
- Preserves Quality of Life: EBRT aims to target cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues, helping to preserve urinary and sexual function.
- Option for Previously Treated Patients: EBRT can be employed as a salvage treatment for patients with recurrent prostate cancer after initial therapy.
Side Effects of External Beam Therapy:
While external beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer is generally well-tolerated, there are potential side effects associated with this treatment option. Common side effects may include fatigue, skin irritation, changes in urinary function, and bowel symptoms. These side effects are usually temporary and can be managed with your doctor’s guidance.
External beam radiation therapy is an effective and widely used treatment option for prostate cancer. As with any treatment, it is essential to discuss potential risks, side effects, and the most suitable approach for your specific treatment with your doctor.