Radiation (X-ray) Therapy – Prostate Cancer Treatment

Prostate cancer can also be treated through radiation. The treatment is called as ‘Radiation Therapy’.

Radiation Therapy, also called X-ray therapy, uses high levels of radiation to kill prostate cancer cells or keep them from growing and dividing, while minimizing damage to healthy cells.

Radiation can be produced from a machine outside the body (external radiation) and directed right at the prostate or by putting radioactive elements known as radioisotopes through thin plastic tubes into the cancer infected area(internal radiation or brachytherapy).

Internal radiation therapy places radioactive implants directly into the tumor. These radioactive sources can be temporary (removed after the proper dose is reached) or permanent.

What happens while the treatment?

External radiation therapy requires regular sessions (generally five days a week) during a period of eight to nine weeks. During each treatment the therapist puts the patient in proper position on the treatment table and leaves the room and starts the treatment.

The patient is under constant observation during the treatment; cameras and intercom are in the treatment room so that the therapist can constantly watch and also hear the patient. The patient has to remain still and relaxed throughout the treatment and has to inform the therapist in case of any problem or discomfort.

The therapist has to keep coming into the room time to time to reposition the machine and the patient. The machine actually does not touch the patient and the patient feels nothing during the treatment. On completion of the treatment the therapist help’s the patient out of the treatment table.

The therapist has to take an X-ray or port film every week to verify that the patient is positioned accurately during the treatment as well as helps him to make sure that the radiation is delivered in the precise area.

After effect of treatment:

After the treatment small marks resembling freckles is marked by the therapist on the skin along the treatment area. The marks provide an outline of the treatment which has to be left untouched by the patient.

Will diet affect treatment?

Good nutrition is important for recovering from the side effects of radiation therapy. Eating well helps the body to heal fast and fight infections and it also gives a sense of well being. The best way is to consult a dietician who can help in framing a diet chart.