Radiation therapy is either a non-invasive, or minimally invasive treatment for prostate cancer that uses x-rays or gamma-rays to eradicate prostate cancer cells. Prostate cancer treatments have several forms of radiation therapy that may be recommended.
Radiation therapy tends to be used for older patients who are not fit for surgery, also as it lowers risks of secondary malignancies and if needed in combination with surgery. It is much easier to remove the prostate first and utilise radiation later is required as an adjunct.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to kill cancer cells. Radiation may be used:
As the first treatment for cancer that is still just in the prostate gland and is low grade. Cure rates for men with these types of cancers are about the same as those for men treated with radical prostatectomy.
As part of the first treatment (along with hormone therapy) for cancers that have grown outside the prostate gland and into nearby tissues.
If the cancer is not removed completely or comes back (recurs) in the area of the prostate after surgery.
If the cancer is advanced, to help keep the cancer under control for as long as possible and to help prevent or relieve symptoms.
The 2 main types of radiation therapy used for prostate cancer are:
External beam radiation - beams of radiation are focused on the prostate gland from a machine outside the body. This type of radiation can be used to try to cure earlier stage cancers, or to help relieve symptoms such as bone pain if the cancer has spread to a specific area of bone.
Brachytherapy (internal radiation) - ses small radioactive pellets, or “seeds,” each about the size of a grain of rice. These pellets are placed directly into your prostate.