A new technique for prostate cancer radiotherapy has reduced the number of sessions to just five, a significant difference from the medical standard of 37 sessions.
The Fast Track to Radiotherapy Cycles
Radiotherapy is one of the most common methods for treating malignant tumors, including prostate tumors. Patients undergoing radiotherapy cycles have to endure a grueling 37 sessions to complete one cycle; combined with other treatments such as chemotherapy, patients often experience nausea, fatigue, weakness, and other serious side effects from such long exposure cycles.
However, a new clinical trial employing a targeted approach has been able to reduce radiotherapy cycles to just five sessions. The procedure involves using several radiotherapy beams at the same time that intersect at the tumor site, providing relatively high doses of radiation directly to the tumor while reducing the radiation exposure of surrounding tissues. The result is that fewer radiotherapy sessions are needed to administer the same therapeutic dose of radiation to the tumor.
SpaceOAR to the Rescue
There are some side effects associated with this new targeted multi-radiotherapy beam therapy. Swelling or soreness at treatment application site, tiredness, and dry or itchy skin can occur. Impotence, bowel, and urinary problems are also common side effects when it comes to treating prostate cancers, but this new clinical trial made use of a new hydrogel spacer to minimize side effects.
This non-toxic hydrogel spacer, named SpaceOAR, is injected under local anesthetic into the perineal region to act as a buffer for the radiological therapy. Clinical study results indicated that using SpaceOAR provides benefits in increasing radiotherapy doses and limiting side effects related to radiotherapy. The protective effect can be attributed to the greater distance the hydrogel creates between the prostate and surrounding tissues. Study participants reported very little pain or discomfort as a result of the treatment, thanks to SpaceOAR.