Studies show that traditionally long and shorter radiotherapy courses are equally effective in prostate cancer.
A study recently conducted at the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Miller Medical School at the University of Miami (USA) has just completed.
303 patients with prostate cancer participated in the work. Some men received radiotherapy for 7.5 weeks, while others - within 5 weeks.
After the end of the radiotherapy course, specialists have been observing patients for five years to monitor the dynamics of side effects of treatment and the probability of recurrence, that is, the reappearance of cancer. Scientists have received the following results:
- The frequency of relapse in the two treatment groups was almost the same. Repeated appearance of the tumor is estimated by the increase in blood of the content of a special substance - prostate-specific antigen. After radiotherapy, its number usually falls.
- Some patients reported diarrhea and other side effects of intestinal radiation therapy.
- Only about 20% of men (a good indicator in conducting radiotherapy) noted erectile dysfunction.
- Although urinary incontinence and other disorders of urination often developed with a short course of treatment, their frequency still remained rather low.
Sighting irradiation of the tumor
According to a leading researcher, Professor Alan Pollack, the rarity of the bladder disorder in this method is associated with the use of a new method for the radiation of a cancer - moderate intensity radiotherapy (RTI).
In this case, radiation enters the tumor in different directions, and the computer program constantly adjusts the intensity and power of the beam of beams. This allows concentrating radiation to the tumor, giving a minimal harmful effect on the surrounding tissues and organs such as the bladder and rectum.
Advantages and disadvantages of short treatment courses
Experts continue to worry about whether the reduction in treatment in the future of patients will not be affected. After all, the amount of radiation that gets into the tumor decreases, and therefore, it remains an opportunity to preserve individual cancer cells that can give relapse.
However, for patients, the short course of radiotherapy, without a doubt, has more advantages: the treatment is shorter, so it is easier to transfer and the less side effects develop in the process.
A new approach to the duration of radiotherapy called gipofraktionation has already shown promising results in treating breast cancer and some other malignant tumors.
The results of a study by American scientists were presented at a press conference in September preceding the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).