A pioneering type of high-dose, short cycle radiation treatments, one that provides only a small number of those doses to its patients, has shown to be ideal in treating men suffering from low to moderate risk prostate cancer.
Using the Right Stereotactics
The treatment is known as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), and according to a new research study, it’s become associated with successful long-term outcomes for treating prostate cancers of moderate-to-low aggression. A clinical study of SBRT’s effectiveness was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showcasing how patients treated in this manner showed remarkable survival rates over the 6-to-10-year follow up period.
During this follow up period, only 100 patients — about 6 percent overall — experienced a recurrence of their prostate cancer. Meanwhile, only 10 patients experienced metastatic prostate cancer growth. Overall, when divided by risk group, 95.5 percent of the lowest-risk patients were cancer-free after 7 years. These figures dropped slightly to 91.4 percent and 85.1 percent for the two other groups of patients in the survey that had progressively more aggressive cancer types.
Implications for Better Treatment in the Future
These survival rate statistics are nothing to sneeze at, though researchers involved in the clinical study are quick to point out that radiation therapy is already one of the more common ways to treat low risk prostate cancers. However, the difference here is in the way that SBRT patients need to be treated; with fewer treatments needed because each individual treatment is at a higher dose, treatment cycles are shorter and have less of an impact on a patient’s life.
In fact, side effects from SBRT were found to not occur any more often during the study than side effects from more traditional radiation therapy methods. In some cases, researchers said, toxicity levels associated with SBRT were sometimes lower, indicating that not only is an SBRT treatment cycle over more quickly, but patients may also feel fewer ill effects from it than they would feel from a higher number of radiotherapy treatments at lower dosage levels.