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Prostate Radiation Therapy

The term radiation therapy is used to describe a therapeutic approach aiming at killing cancer cells. The radiotherapist  can use electromagnetic radiation emitted by a machine called linear  accelerator to do so; in this case, the therapy is called external radiation therapy. The same, very thin radioactive seeds or wires can be inserted into the prostate to kill malignant cells (cancer cells) by sparing the maximum surrounding healthy tissue; this is internal radiation therapy. The goal of the therapy is todamage the DNA of cancer cells preventing them from dividing anarchically, the main characteristic of cancer cells.   

External Radiation Therapy:During external radiation therapy, the patient does not need to be hospitalized or undergo any surgery. In many cases, treatments are administered daily, Monday through Friday, for several weeks. In general, a planning session is conducted with the participation of the patient before starting treatment. The radiotherapist sets out the details of the treatment using a device called simulator which allows him to take pictures of the tumor, and thus visualize the area being treated. These images will help the physician to plan the treatment and to decide how the radiation should be directed to the body, specifically on the tumor. Read more…  

Internal Radiation Therapy Also called brachytherapy, internal radiation is the fact that the radiation is emitted by a source which is introduced inside the tumor itself or very close to it. The radioactive source consists in general of Small radioactive metal seeds . They are located in contact with the tumor, placed in natural cavities such as the vagina, uterus and esophagus – this is called intracavitary brachytherapy or plesiocurietherapy ; or directly into the tumor – this is interstitial brachytherapy or endocurietherapy, as is the case in some cancers of the prostate or breast cancer. Although used to treat mainly cancers of the prostate gland, cervix, womb, or head and neck, internal radiation can be used to treat other cancers.

If necessary, the radioactive source is implanted under anesthesia. Depending on the type of cancer or brachytherapy used, the source is introduced into the body at each session or, conversely, retained on a fixed term until the treatment is over. Read more…