With more than 160.000 new cases each year, prostate cancer is the second most common types of cancer in the United States. It is estimated that approximately 30.000 people will die as a result, just in 2018.
These statistics might soon see dramatic changes, as a new form of radiotherapy, stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), is currently showing impressive results. The procedure involves thin beams of radiation aimed directly at the tumor, from different angles. The technique allows the application of high doses of radiation with little damage to nearby healthy tissue.
The standard course of radiation therapy involves 37 sessions, but with this new targeted approach, the number could be reduced to only 5.
At the moment, SABR is only suitable for patients with smaller cancer. As with most serious medical treatments, it does come with some possible side effects, these include tiredness, skin reactions, soreness and swelling, but should subside within weeks.
Clinical trials combined SABR and SpaceOAR, a hydrogel designed to alleviate the side effects of radiation therapy in cases of prostate cancer. Inserted between the prostate gland and the rectum, the minimally intrusive technology helps create a bigger distance between the tumor and other tissue.
Mr. Gordon Robinson, aged 70, one of the patients that underwent the procedure said “If it wasn’t for this research, I simply would not be here. My family and I are so thankful to the doctors who have helped us. This treatment has allowed me to live my life again.”
The trial is still underway and hopes to collect more data in order to further improve the quality of the procedure and provide a better outcome for all suffering from prostate cancer.