Prostate cancer and radiation therapy
What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is defined as cancerous cells that grow in the prostate gland. While the cancer may be contained within the gland, oftentimes, it moves through the prostate capsule into other parts of the body. Next to lung cancer, it is the second most common cancer among men. Although overall incidence rates have decreased over the years, statistics indicate that it continues to affect one in nine men.
Depending on the location, stage, and aggressiveness of the disease, this cancer can be treated utilizing several different modalities. Among these treatment options is radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is a treatment option that uses the power of radiation to destroy cancerous cells by preventing them from dividing and spreading. Radiation therapy is delivered under the direction and supervision of a Radiation Oncologist.
When is radiation indicated?
Radiation is best utilized under the following conditions:
- Radiation therapy is used as a first line treatment for men who have localized cancer in their prostate. This means that the cancerous cells are still contained within the prostate gland and have not penetrated the capsule. While the cells are contained, radiation therapy is used to target these cells.
- Men with low grade, localized cancer are good candidates for radiation therapy. Low grade cancer means that the cancerous cells are very similar to normal cells, and that they are growing very slowly.
- Men with locally advanced prostate cancer can also consider radiation therapy. Locally advanced cancer is defined as cancer that has moved outside the prostate capsule, but is within close proximity of the capsule. This cancer has not yet moved to other parts of the body.
- Radiation therapy may also be indicated if cancer has returned after surgical removal of the prostate. This type of radiation therapy is known as salvage therapy.
- When cancer moves outside of the capsule into bone (metastatic cancer), radiation therapy is utilized to help relieve the pain associated with bone metastases. Radiation therapy may also be used when prostate cancer has moved to other parts of the body.
The Austin Center for Radiation Oncology is a high-volume prostate cancer radiation center that has treated hundreds of men across Texas. If you have been newly diagnosed with cancer, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Richard Garza.