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Treating Prostate Cancer with Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is often used in Kissimmee to treat prostate cancer in men when the disease is showing signs of progression. This form of cancer treatment uses high levels of radiation to destroy cancer cells without causing significant damage to cells that are cancer-free. Radiation therapy can either be delivered with external radiation or can be placed directly into the prostate for internal radioactive treatment. Internal radioactive implants may be placed in the prostate temporarily or left in permanently.

External Radiotherapy If the patient and physician decide to use external radiation for treating the cancer, the patient will normally be referred to a radiation oncologist in Kissimmee who specializes in this form of cancer treatment. Repeat treatment sessions will be required that are often scheduled five days a week for eight to nine weeks. This procedure may affect surrounding healthy tissue due to exposure and is seldom used on patients who have had previous radiotherapy.

Internal Radiotherapy When choosing to have internal radiation therapy (Brachytherapy), radioactive seed implants are placed into the prostate. They may be permanently placed or a newer form of Brachytherapy may be used that allows the seeds to be placed temporarily.

Permanent Brachytherapy Permanent Brachytherapy is a technique that uses low doses of radioactive iodine seeds. These seeds are implanted into the prostate with the use of an ultrasound machine for visual assistance in placing them in proper position. Before Brachytherapy is used, the radiation oncologist in Kissimmee will predetermine how many seeds will be used according to the patient's needs. Usually between 40 to 100 seeds are implanted. These seeds are permanently positioned although the radioactive iodine will only remain active for a number of months.

Temporary Brachytherapy Temporary Brachytherapy is done using high doses of radioactive material. This technique is done using hollow needles to position the seeds in the prostate. Seeds are filled with a radioactive material known as iridium. These remain in the prostate for only a few seconds and are then removed. These treatments usually require two to three sessions that are done within a two-day period.

Side Effects of Radiotherapy Side effects may include frequent, urgent and painful urination, rectal pain during bowel movements, loose stools and erectile dysfunction. Studies have not been done to determine if one form of Brachytherapy is more effective than the other and side effects from both forms appear to be the same. When having permanent implants the patient may not require an overnight hospital stay. Those who elect to have temporary implants usually are required to stay in the hospital for one night.

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