Prostate Cancer SBRT: Exciting New Treatment Option
An estimated one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. A diagnosis of prostate cancer comes with difficult decisions. Every center is not capable of providing all treatment options for prostate cancer. We are proud to be the first in the region to offer prostate cancer SBRT.
Choosing the Right Option
Treatment selection is difficult because of the many options available. Surgery and radiation therapy are the two most common treatment options for prostate cancer. For surgery, there are many surgical techniques that vary among hospitals and providers.
Similar to surgery, there are many radiation options to choose from. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and implants are the two categories or radiation for prostate treatment. EBRT delivery is in short daily outpatient treatments and works like a targeted x-ray. These two radiation options are further subdivided. Not every practice provides all radiation treatments.
Knowing the benefits and risks of each treatment makes the decision easier. Implants and surgery are a single surgical procedure. However, both have their own side effects and risks. EBRT typically has fewer side effects but takes nine weeks of daily outpatient treatments. Therefore EBRT works well for men who live nearby the hospital but traveling long distances is difficult if men live far away.
To address this issue, we offer a new treatment option for men diagnosed with early and intermediate stage prostate cancer.
What is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy?
Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is also known as stereotactic ablative radiation therapy (SABR). Prostate cancer SBRT is a specialized type of EBRT delivered with the highest precision. The precise delivery and planning allows this cutting-edge treatment.
More precise radiation delivery allows a much shorter time-span for therapy. For example, delivery of typical outpatient treatments with EBRT are over 45 daily treatments lasting nine weeks total. With SBRT, delivery of the entire treatment is only 5 treatments lasting 1-2 weeks!
A 1-2 week treatment is more convenient for patients receiving radiation therapy. Daily treatment everyday for 9 weeks is difficult for some men either because of time off work or difficulty traveling. SBRT is a great solution for patients who wish to avoid surgery and implants but have difficulty traveling.
SBRT is established in many types of cancer as a standard of care. For example, SBRT for early stage lung cancer has fewer side effects and better chance of control compared with traditional EBRT. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Clinical Practice Guidelines now recommend SBRT as an alternative to surgery for early stage lung cancer.
SBRT is used to treat many types of cancers: Primary lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, primary and metastatic liver cancer, kidney tumors, bone metastasis, adrenal glands and now prostate cancer. Another exciting use of SBRT is to treat stage IV cancer patients previously thought to be incurable.
Multiple studies show SBRT works very well for prostate cancer. As with early stage lung cancer, NCCN guidelines recommend SBRT as an option for prostate cancer. Specifically, prostate cancer SBRT is an option for low and intermediate risk patients.
Lastly, there is good reason to believe prostate cancer is more susceptible to SBRT versus traditional EBRT. Experts predict the focused and high daily dose with SBRT is stronger against prostate tumors. SBRT prostate treatment is limited to centers with the equipment, training and support to perform this advanced treatment.
Changing What’s Possible
The right people and tools allow us to be the first in Florence to offer this exciting new treatment. Dr. Wooten has ten years of experience with SBRT. His SBRT training was from one of the founders. He has both clinical experience and also research experience with SBRT. Dr. Wooten presented SBRT research findings at some of the most prestigious Oncology conferences in the US.
Prostate cancer SBRT combines very well with other cutting edge technologies which improve prostate cancer radiation. For example, our clinic is the first in Florence to use hydrogel spacers to reduce side effects from prostate radiation. Hydrogel spacers reduce urine, bowel and sexual side effects from radiation therapy.
We plan with both computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for prostate cancer SBRT. MRI is a more accurate method of imaging the prostate. Next, we use advanced planning software. Also, our plans conform to the most strict and recent study guidelines. Finally, we use the most advance treatment delivery and verification techniques such as volumetric arc therapy (VMAT), daily CT imaging and also daily surface guided radiation therapy (SGRT).
We receive excellent feedback from our patients about SBRT. Our first patient was ideal for SBRT. He did not want invasive procedures because of the side effects. EBRT was difficult because his occupation made it difficult to come every day for nine weeks. He was very happy to find out we could complete the same treatment in only five outpatient visits.
Offering prostate cancer SBRT is a real win-win: A win for our patients and also for our practice. This is just one of the many exciting things planned for prostate cancer patients this year and next. Be sure to check out our blog and stay up-to-date on new treatments and articles for cancer patients.