ABOUT RADIATION TREATMENT THERAPY (IMRT/IGRT)

 

Radiation Treatment for Prostate Cancer Philadelphia, PA Area

Radiation Therapy is the use of radiation to treat cancer and other problems.  Special equipment sends high doses of radiation to the cancer cells or tumor.  This keeps the cells from growing and making more cancer cells.

 

Radiation Therapy is used to treat prostate cancer that is still confined to the prostate gland or has spread to nearby issue.  The goal of radiation is to destroy cancer cells by decreasing their ability to divide.
 

LEARN MORE ABOUT IMRT and IGRT . . .
 

 

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT AT THE UROLOGY HEALTH PROSTATE CANCER CENTER

 

In this section, we cover the steps of getting treatment and show what the road to recovery is like at the Urolgoy Health Prostate Cancer CenterThese steps include:

 

CONSULTATION APPOINTMENT

FIDUCIAL MARKER PLACEMENT

TREATMENT PLANNING:  CT SIMULATION

BEGINNING YOUR TREATMENT

AFTER TREATMENT:  FOLLOW-UP CARE

GETTING SUPPORT

 

CONSULTATION APPOINTMENT

 

On your first visit to the Urology Health Prostate Cancer Center, you will have an initial meeting/consultation with a radiation oncologist, a physician who specializes in the treatment of cancer, and your nurse to discuss your treatment plan. Our process is designed around minimizing your stress and preparing you for what’s to come. Your team will also include the radiation therapists who will stay with you throughout your entire course of treatment and remain involved during your follow-up care. Having the same team of individuals throughout therapy ensures consistency of care.  MEET OUR CLINICAL TEAM . . .

 

A history and physical exam will be done. The process of IMRT will be discussed and any questions or concerns that you may have will be addressed. You will be given more information about what to expect during each step of your treatment. During this visit we will also review your insurance benefits and the financial implications of your treatment. If you consent to treatment, all of your appointments will be handled by the Urology Health Prostate Cancer Center staff. You will be asked to sign a consent form, and you will be scheduled for an appointment for marker placement.

 

FIDUCIAL MARKER PLACEMENT

 

Accurate daily targeting increases radiation to the tumor and spares normal surrounding tissue.

 

After you have had your consultation and any additional tests you may need, you will be scheduled to come to the center for a Fiducial Marker placement. Marker placement involves implanting gold markers in the prostate or prostate bed to target the treatment area and focus the radiation beam. The markers are placed in the prostate utilizing the same procedure as used to obtain the biopsy samples. These markers do not need to be removed at the end of treatment and provide us with a target to align your daily treatment. We will give you specific instructions when we schedule your appointment.

 

TREATMENT PLANNING: CT SIMULATION

 

You will be scheduled for a CT scan to localize the exact position of the metallic markers in your prostate gland, and to gather its specific size and shape data for computerized treatment planning.

 

The treatment planning sessions, sometimes referred to as simulation, helps the radiation oncology team determine the best set-up for the radiation beams to most effectively target the prostate with as little radiation as possible to the healthy tissues around it. The treatment planning sessions will last approximately one hour and are similar to having a CT scan. Each treatment plan is carefully customized by a team of radiation oncologists, radiation physicists and dosimetrists for your specific prostate gland tumor and body habitus.

 

To ensure the radiation beam is aimed correctly, a special mold or cast of the lower body will be made to help you remain still during your treatment. A radiation therapist will mark the field with tattoo ink. These permanent tattoos will be used to properly align you on the treatment table during your course of therapy.  

 

BEGINNING YOUR TREATMENT

 

Upon completion of treatment planning, your IMRT/IGRT prostate cancer treatment will begin. Treatments will usually take place Monday through Friday at the same appointment time each day. For those receiving primary radiation therapy (without prior surgery), a usual treatment course consists of 43 or 44 daily sessions over an 8 to 9 week period. Treatments generally last 10 to 12 minutes and involve no pain or discomfort during the therapy.

 

If radiation is given after surgery, usually 6 to 7 weeks of therapy is prescribed.IMRT Radiation treatments are painless. The experience is just like having a regular x-ray taken. The treatment takes only a few minutes; but each session may last 15 to 30 minutes because of the time it takes to set up the equipment and place you in the correct position. You will lie on a treatment table positioned under the radiation machine. Since radiation therapy is so precise, you must be in a very specific, predetermined position to ensure the radiation beam hits the target directly. You will be asked to lie still during the set-up process and while the beam is on.

LEARN MORE ABOUT IMRT and IGRT TREATMENTS . . .

 

You do not have to hold your breath, just breathe normally. Once you are in the correct position, the radiation therapist will go into a nearby room to turn on the machine and watch you on a TV monitor. You will be able to talk with the therapist over an intercom.

 

During the actual treatment, you will not feel or see the radiation beam. It is invisible. The radiation therapy machine will make clicking and whirring noises and sometimes sound like a vacuum cleaner as it moves to aim at the treatment area from different angles. These sounds usually go unnoticed by patients after a few treatment sessions. The radiation therapist controls the movement and checks to be sure it is working properly. If you are concerned about anything that happens in the treatment room, ask your therapist to explain. If you feel ill or uncomfortable during the treatment, tell your therapist at once. The machine can be stopped at any time.

FAQ's ABOUT RADIATION THERAPY . . .

 

AFTER TREATMENT: FOLLOW-UP CARE

 

The Urology Health Prostate Cancer Center is dedicated to you while you are undergoing treatments and after your completion. We are committed to help you return to a normal life as soon as possible. After your radiation therapy ends, you will need regular doctor visits to check your progress and help you deal with any problems that arise. This phase of your treatment is called follow-up care. Your follow-up care will include checking the results of your treatment, as well as appointments with your urologist.

 

Philadelphia Prostate Cancer Center We will be there to hold your hand,
answer your questions and
address your concerns...