Prostate Cancer

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Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer

Target Prostate Cancer. Maintain Quality of Life.

One of the most advanced forms of radiation therapy, proton therapy delivers less radiation to the rectum and bladder when compared to other treatments, such as Cyberknife for prostate cancer. Proton therapy is a highly effective treatment with a much lower risk of short and long-term side effects.

Radiation stops
at the tumor and
does not exit
the body

PROTON THERAPY: YES
CYBERKNIFE: NO
GAMMAKNIFE: NO
IGRT: NO
IMRT: NO

Treating Prostate Cancer with Proton Therapy

With the cutting-edge science of proton therapy, doctors can precisely target the tumor while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue and organs. Unlike standard X-ray radiation including Cyberknife, which relies on photons to reach cancer cells, protons deposit their radiation directly into the tumor and then stop. With no exit dose, radiation exposure is reduced with proton therapy and patients are able to maintain their quality of life both during and after treatment.

Non-Invasive vs. Invasive Treatments

PROTON THERAPY
NON-INVASIVE

Not entering or penetrating the body or disturbing body tissue. Not tending to infiltrate and destroy healthy tissue.

BRACHYTHERAPY
INVASIVE

Requiring the entry of a needle, catheter, or other instrument into a part of the body in a surgical procedure.

Proton Therapy vs X-Ray/IMRT for Prostate Cancer

Proton therapy delivers significantly less radiation to the bladder and rectum than X-ray radiation. These images show the areas around the prostate exposed to radiation during treatment. Where standard X-ray treatment releases radiation from the moment it penetrates the skin and all the way through to the other side of the tumor, proton therapy deposits radiation directly into the tumor without exiting through surrounding healthy issue.

In most cases, patients can go about their normal routine before and after each treatment.

By minimizing excess radiation to unaffected areas, the likelihood of debilitating side effects like gastrointestinal issues, incontinence, and impotence, is significantly reduced. Clinical studies show that proton therapy, when compared to X-ray based treatments including Cyberknife, results in up to 60% less radiation to the rectum, bladder, penile bulb, and bowel.

 

 

Overall quality of life after treatment

Proton Therapy

Brachytherapy

Traditional Relation

Surgical Procedure

“Proton therapy is one of the most advanced, sophisticated ways of treating patients with radiation.”

– Dr. Edward Soffen, MD

Pencil Beam Scanning

At ProCure, we use the most precise form of proton therapy to treat prostate cancer. Pencil Beam Scanning precisely controls protons to place the Bragg Peak, the point at which protons deposit their maximum energy, directly into the tumor. The ultra precision of this technology makes it an ideal treatment for tumors of the prostate, including irregularly shaped or complex tumors located next to critical tissues and organs.

In addition, we also offer SpaceOar Hydrogel, a temporary injectable gel that acts as a spacer to protect the rectum in men undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Once in place, it typically cannot be felt and is usually absorbed within three months before being naturally cleared in the urine.

 

ProCure uses SpaceOAR® Hydrogel for added protection

SpaceOAR® Hydrogel is a temporary injectable gel that protects the rectum in men undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer, decreasing the likelihood of side effects. The SpaceOAR® System reduces rectal injury by acting as a spacer – pushing the rectum away from the prostate and out of the high dose radiation region.

 

How does SpaceOAR® Hydrogel work

The hydrogel spacer is injected during a minimally invasive procedure and once in place, patients typically can’t feel it. The hydrogel is safe and similar to other products used in brain surgery, cardiology and ophthalmology. It remains in place for three months during radiation treatment and is then absorbed and leaves the body in the patient’s urine — leaving nothing behind.

Anatomy without SpaceOAR® Hydrogel
The rectum is next to the prostate complicating prostate radiation therapy.

Anatomy with SpaceOAR® Hydrogel
The SpaceOAR Spacer pushes the rectum away from the prostate, decreasing rectal injury during prostate RT.

A Little Space Makes a BIG Difference™

Placed between the prostate and rectum, SpaceOAR hydrogel pushes the rectum out of the high dose radiation region. Like prostate cancer cells, cells in the rectum are also damaged by the high dose radiation. That’s why the rectum is called the Organ At Risk (OAR) during prostate radiation therapy.

Anatomy without SpaceOAR System

With SpaceOAR System

Proven Effectiveness

An FDA-approved treatment, there is much clinical data that proves Proton Therapy’s effectiveness for prostate cancer treatment.

99% of men with early and intermediate prostate cancer and 76% of men with advanced prostate cancer are cancer-free five years after proton therapy.1

In a study of 393 patients with early, intermediate, and advanced stages of prostate cancer, 91.3% were cancer-free at five years when treated with high doses of proton therapy.1,2

“I was able to go through treatment without any side effects. I felt good about the whole treatment.”

– Paul, Prostate Cancer Patient
Prostate Cancer Treatment FAQ’s

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation that destroys cancer cells by preventing them from dividing and growing. Proton therapy uses protons—positively charged atomic particles—instead of the photons used in standard X-ray radiation therapy. With proton therapy, doctors can precisely target the tumor while minimizing damage to the surrounding, healthy tissue. Unlike standard X-ray radiation, protons deposit much of their radiation directly in the tumor and then stop.

Usually, treatments are given five days a week for up to eight weeks, depending on the stage of your prostate cancer and other health factors. Shorter courses of treatment, ranging from one week to five weeks, are available for select groups of patients. In most cases, you can go about your normal routine before and after your session.

Yes. Proton therapy can be used with many other kinds of cancer treatment, including hormone therapy, brachytherapy, and/or as a follow-up to surgery.

Most patients do not feel pain or discomfort during treatment. The majority of the time patients spend in the treatment room involves setting up for treatment.

Your radiation therapists will have everything ready for you before the treatment begins. You will be moved into position before each treatment using an FDA-approved robotic positioning system. You will be asked to lie still on a treatment bed while your therapists make adjustments. After you are in position, the proton beam is delivered and is on for about one minute. You will not feel or see the proton beam. You may hear some clicking from the equipment around you, but generally, after a few treatment sessions, the sounds go unnoticed. During the actual treatment, your therapists will leave the room and monitor your treatment from a control room just outside the treatment room. Although they are not in the same room as you, they can see and hear you through a video monitor. They remain close by and you can easily talk to them if you need anything.

There is no need to stay overnight in a hospital or remain at the center after your treatment. In most cases, you can go about your normal routine before and after your session.

Unlike conventional radiation treatments in which the beam penetrates all the way through the target tumor into the normal tissues behind the cancer, proton beams deliver their dose to the tumor without any dose reaching the deeper tissues. Pencil beam scanning couples this unique property of the proton beam with an electronically guided scanning system that delicately and precisely moves a beam of pencil point sharpness back and forth across each layer of the tumor’s thickness. This “paints” the tumor with radiation in three dimensions and eliminates dose to the normal tissues on the other side of the cancer. The ultra-precision of pencil beam scanning makes it an ideal treatment for prostate cancer as the radiation dose to the rectum and bladder is minimized. Learn more.

SpaceOAR® Hydrogel is a temporary injectable gel that protects the rectum in men undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer, decreasing the likelihood of side effects. The SpaceOAR System reduces rectal injury by acting as a spacer – pushing the rectum away from the prostate and out of the high dose radiation region.

The hydrogel spacer is injected during a minimally invasive procedure and once in place, patients typically can’t feel it. The hydrogel is safe and similar to other products used in brain surgery, cardiology and ophthalmology. It remains in place for three months during radiation treatment and is then absorbed and leaves the body in the patient’s urine — leaving nothing behind. 

The SpaceOAR System has been clinically proven and studied in a US Clinical Trial and is FDA cleared for sale in the US. The physicians at ProCure were some of the pioneering doctors to validate the benefits of hydrogel.

Proton therapy is covered by Medicare and many private insurance providers. Each ProCure Center has a financial counselor who is dedicated to guiding you through the insurance process. Please contact us if you have questions about coverage.

Proton therapy and X-ray radiation therapy both treat prostate cancer by killing cancer cells when they attempt to divide and multiply. However, there is an important difference. Because X-ray radiation releases its maximum dose of radiation quickly after penetrating the skin and continues to release radiation as it passes through your body beyond the tumor, it exposes more tissue to unwanted radiation, potentially causing more damage to healthy tissue and organs than proton therapy. Proton therapy delivers much of the radiation exactly at the tumor site and then stops. There is essentially no radiation exposure beyond the tumor site once the radiation has reached and covered the treatment area. This allows proton radiation to target the tumor while reducing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.3

For prostate cancer, this means less radiation is delivered to the bladder and rectum. In a study conducted at the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute, proton therapy delivered on average 35 percent less radiation to the bladder and 59 percent less radiation to the rectum compared with standard radiation therapy.4

Yes. According to a study from the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute, 99 percent of men with early and intermediate prostate cancer and 76 percent of men with advanced prostate cancer are cancer-free five years after proton therapy.6 These results compare favorably to outcomes achieved with surgery or other types of radiation.

In a Massachusetts General Hospital Phase III study of 393 patients with early, intermediate, and advanced stages of prostate cancer (all risk groups), 91.3 percent of patients were cancer-free at five years when treated with high doses of proton therapy.6,7

Proton therapy offers high cancer control rates.7 In one study, 91.3 percent of men in all risk groups were cancer-free (no rise in prostate-specific antigen (PSA)) at five years post-treatment.6 High cancer-free rates were also maintained for patients in the low-risk group in follow-up at 10 years. For example, 92.9 percent of men in the low-risk disease group were cancer-free 10 years after receiving proton therapy treatment.7

Proton therapy shares a high cure rate with other cancer treatments, including brachytherapy and IMRT. The difference is that standard X-ray therapies such as IMRT deliver more radiation to normal tissues surrounding the prostate.8 With proton therapy, radiation to critical structures, including the rectum and bladder, is dramatically reduced, resulting in low rates of rectal and genitourinary side effects.6,10,11,12 A national trial led by investigators at the Harvard Cancer Center is ongoing to determine if the reduction in exposure to the healthy tissues can improve the long-term quality of life for patients after proton therapy treatment. Studies have shown reduced risks of radiation-induced cancers with protons.

Most patients do not experience side effects during proton therapy treatment. If side effects occur, such as mild fatigue and more frequent urination, they are generally minor and manageable. In terms of long-term side effects, because proton therapy is very precise, it is unlikely to cause urinary or bowel problems. Additionally, proton therapy has a low risk of debilitating side effects like incontinence and impotence, which are often associated with treatment options like surgery.

Most men with prostate cancer are good candidates for proton therapy. If you are interested in proton therapy as a treatment option, we can schedule a consultation for you to speak with a radiation oncologist at ProCure. During the consultation, the radiation oncologist will work with you to determine if you are likely to benefit from proton therapy. The radiation oncologists at ProCure use all forms of radiation to treat prostate cancer, so they will provide you with an unbiased treatment recommendation that is best for you.

Trials are currently being conducted for prostate cancer at ProCure, including:

  • A study to determine if prostate cancer patients treated with proton therapy as compared to intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) experience improved Quality of Life (QOL).
  • A study for men who have been diagnosed with Stage 1 or 2 prostate cancer that compares two types of radiation therapy: intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and proton beam therapy (PBT). It seeks to determine if proton therapy results in fewer side effects on bowel, urinary and erectile function. This study is being led by investigators at the Harvard Cancer Center and is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.
  • A registry that will enroll men who are eligible for but decline enrollment and randomization in the above trial. The overall goal of the Registry is to assess the representativeness and generalizability of the randomized clinical trial findings to a broader spectrum of eligible patients.

Please visit Clinical Trials for more information.

Talk To Us

Find out if proton therapy is the right treatment for you. Contact our Care Team or request more information online.

Attend An Information Session

Learn more about proton therapy and our world-class Care Team. Contact the center to reserve your place.

 

Contact our care team at (877) 967-7628