UMC’s Radiation Oncology team recently introduced new treatment technologies, in the UMC Southwest Cancer Center, that will change the face of care for prostate cancer patients forever.
One of these is SpaceOAR® Hydrogel. Radiation therapy is extremely effective in targeting and treating prostate cancer, but because the prostate is so close to the rectal wall, sometimes there can be damage to healthy tissue of the rectum, causing side effects. Using this hydrogel creates a .5cm to 1cm barrier, which can eliminate toxicity to the healthy rectum.
“We have a goal, by using this technology, of lowering the total number of radiation treatments for patients,” said Dr. Carlos Torres, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology. “Normally, prostate radiation treatments need to be spaced out to allow for the healthy rectal tissue, that got the dose of radiation, to heal before receiving another dose of treatment. Now, we can deliver higher doses of radiation in one sitting with a much lower risk of potential tissue damage and side effects to the rectum. We also can now cut the number of treatments from 30 to 45 to 5 to 16 treatments total.”
Although there are other facilities in town who offer this treatment, the UMC Southwest Center is the only comprehensive cancer center in a 210-mile radius to offer it. This means convenience for patients: the SpaceOAR® is inserted before you receive radiation therapy in the same building. Other facilities may require patients to receive the SpaceOAR® with a urologist before traveling to a cancer center for radiation therapy.
Our Radiation Oncologists also introduced new fiducial markers that anchor to the prostate tissue in treatments. This allows them to keep track of the prostate and its movement during radiation treatments, which ensures the treatment is targeting the correct area. The markers used by most don’t anchor and can therefore move around with the prostate.
We are proud of the work our cancer center team is doing for our patients!