Prostate cancer is one of the most diagnosed cancers in men, so research into prevention and treatment is a popular topic. A recent study has shown that a radical new radiotherapy treatment for men diagnosed with prostate cancer – a so called ‘Turbo’ treatment – could dramatically reduce the amount of radiotherapy treatments required, from a typical 20 sessions to just 5. Prostate Cancer UK have also backed the research, confirming it is safe for patients.
Radical radiotherapy study
The clinical trial was led by Queen’s University Belfast, and named the ‘SPORT trial’ (A Study Evaluating Stereotactic Prostate Radiotherapy in High-Risk Localised Prostate Cancer) and is the first of its kind in the UK.
This particular trial involved 30 men from Northern Ireland, using the new advanced ‘SABR’ treatment (Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy) which is both highly accurate for targeting specific cancers, and able to deliver larger doses per treatment session. This type of treatment is also known as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and known for its unique targeting ability, whilst protecting surrounding organs and other healthy tissue.
What are the benefits of radical radiotherapy for patients?
Patients would have fewer visits to hospitals and therefore benefit from travel/parking cost savings due to fewer journeys. The reduction in hospital visits could lighten the ‘mental burden’ of treatment sessions and allow more time for physical and mental recovery. There is also a reduced risk of side effects (such as bowel problems) thanks to a special hydrogel technology, which can shield the bowel during the treatment period. A primary aim of the treatment is to minimise life-altering side effects of prostate cancer, and improve the patient’s chances of controlling the disease.
What does the treatment mean for the future of prostate cancer?
The treatment is well favoured for targeting the prostate, as it is notoriously one of the most difficult areas to remove via surgery (prostatectomy) due to its deep location within the pelvic area, and close proximity to blood vessels and sexual functions. The risk of urinary complications is also higher – around 70% patients suffer with bladder control issues after a prostatectomy, according to Cancer Research UK.
Around 70 out of 100 men (around 70%) have problems controlling their bladder 6 months after a radical prostatectomy.
– Cancer Research UK –
It is hoped that this radical new radiotherapy treatment could reduce waiting times, improve patient outcomes, and make radiotherapy for prostate cancer more cost effective for the NHS.
The study by Queen’s University Belfast also identified biomarkers which could be used to predict wish patients involved in the treatment are more likely to develop bowel toxicity – a swelling and inflammation which runs into the colon, causing the bowel to stop working properly, and in some cases, rupture. Such predictions could make a huge difference to patient outcomes.
If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed, you can find out more in our article about Prostate Cancer and various treatments available. You can find lots of detailed information on the websites for Prostate Cancer UK, and Orchid.
Bladder Control After Prostate Operation
[BBC:004] Bladder Control After Prostate Op
Bladder control can be affected after an operation on your prostrate. This guide explains what help and products are available. You can also find a bladder diary here which is a useful tool to help with bladder training.