Radiation Therapy: External Beam or Brachytherapy?
- Department of:
- Adena Regional Medical Center
If you have prostate cancer, your Adena oncologist will explain your treatment options. Radiation therapy might be one of them.
Radiation uses high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells, or to keep them from growing and spreading to other parts of the body. Prostate cancer typically spreads to nearby tissues and lymph nodes first, then to the bones. This is painful and causes complications such as fractures.
There are two kinds of radiation treatment, and Adena offers both:
External Beam. A machine outside the body sends radiation toward the cancer. In some cases, a computer might be used to create a 3-D picture of the tumor. Then, radiation beams will be created to fit the exact shape of the tumor. This technique can spare healthy tissue.
Brachytherapy. A radioactive substance is sealed in tiny seeds. Doctors use needles to puncture the skin and place these seeds in the prostate gland. An ultrasound or CT scan helps to guide doctors during the procedure.
As with all treatments, it’s important to talk about radiation risks with your doctor. Men who undergo radiation therapy for prostate cancer may be more likely to develop bladder or rectal cancer in addition to impotence and urinary problems, according to the National Cancer Institute.
If your doctor recommends radiation therapy, he or she will help you decide which technique — external or internal — is best depending on your type and stage of prostate cancer.
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