Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer
There are several types of radiation therapy used for prostate cancer treatment, but generally, radiation therapy is delivered either externally or internally. With external beam radiation, a machine is used to direct targeted radiation to the tumor site from outside the patient’s body. Internal radiation therapy, or brachytherapy, involves delivering radiation from inside the patient’s body with radioactive pellets that are placed in or near the tumor.
Moffitt Cancer Center’s Radiation Oncology Program uses a wide range of radiation therapy techniques, including the most advanced options available today. Some of the most common radiation delivery methods for treating prostate cancer include:
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) – This is the most commonly used form of external beam radiation therapy for treating prostate cancer. With this method, the machine moves around the patient as the radiation is delivered, allowing the beams to target the cancer site from many angles.
- High dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy – This is a type of internal radiotherapy that involves inserting thin tubes directly into the prostate gland under ultrasound guidance. The source of radiation is then inserted in the tubes for a few minutes to deliver the radiotherapy dose. This is done under computer control. HDR brachytherapy can be used as the sole treatment or in addition to IMRT.
- Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) – The radiation machine utilized in this advanced type of external radiation therapy features built-in imaging scanners that allow physicians to take pictures of the prostate for precise targeting of the cancer site.
- Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) – Also referred to as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), this technique delivers a very high dose of radiation with pinpoint accuracy. Because the dose rate is high, patients can see effective results with fewer treatments.
In addition to offering these radiation therapies, Moffitt is the only cancer center in the United States that can provide internal radiation treatment for prostate cancer using an absorbable Duraseal gel that reduces radiation dosage to the rectum. Additionally, Moffitt is an American College of Radiology-accredited center – a designation that speaks not only to the high quality of our equipment, but also to the ability of our team. Radiation therapy is a complex, state-of-the-art treatment, and it is the team, not the machine, that matters most.
Medically reviewed by Monica Chatwal, MD.
No referral is required to consult with the prostate cancer experts at Moffitt Cancer Center. If you would like to schedule an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form, and we’ll help you determine whether radiation therapy is an appropriate option for treating your prostate cancer.