Men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer that demands intervention to increase survival changes may find a relatively new form of radiation offers the hope they’re after. Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy, or SBRT for short, has been shown to have a 98 percent cure rate in patients who are treated with this option.
SBRT involves the use of specialized external beam radiation. In this noninvasive treatment, high dose beams are directed at the body through different angles so that they intersect at the intended target. This enables a high degree of precision in treating the tumor while limiting the amount of radiation that impacts healthy tissue that surrounds cancerous cells.
SBRT also reduces the amount of time involved in treatment therapy. Unlike standard radiation that may call for more than 40 treatments over the course of weeks, SBRT may involve only five treatments to produce results. A study into its use, found this condensed treatment path was especially beneficial in treating those with low- and intermediate-risk stage I or II prostate cancer. Nearly 100 patients treated with this option were followed over the course of five years. Only one patient saw a return of cancer following treatments, researchers found.
While SBRT can reduce side effect risks, this treatment does not eliminate them entirely. Some of the short-term impacts may include urinary problems and rectal irritations. These, however, often reverse within a few weeks. There are some risks associated with long-term rectal and urinary problems, as well, but the risks are small. Researchers also noted that about 25 percent of patients did witness a decrease in erectile function. The rate, however, was lower than with conventional radiation or surgery.
Men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer should talk about all treatment options with their doctors. SBRT, when indicated, may provide a way to successfully treat this disease while lowering side effect risks.