Proton beam therapy, a form of external beam radiation, has been around for a while but is less commonly utilized than other forms of radiation therapy, which is partly due to availability. Certain properties of protons show potential for a different approach to radiation therapy. This article also considers how implementation of imaging helps improve treatment outcomes.
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LDR (low dose rate) brachytherapy for prostate cancer is more commonly known as seed implants. You may be familiar with this treatment option but for those of you who may be new to the confusing world of prostate cancer treatment, seed implants involve the insertion of small radioactive pellets or seeds into the prostate by transrectal ultrasound guidance, in order to deliver a focused dose of radiation to the prostate.
New prostate cancer drugs come to market quite rarely because the studies mandated by the FDA cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The FDA requires these studies to randomly allocate men into two comparison groups. One group receives the new medicine being tested. The other group gets an ineffective fake, called a placebo. Assuming the study is performed in an acceptable manner, the FDA will approve a new drug for commercial use, only if the men who are receiving the new medicine outlive those treated with the placebo by a specified margin without excessive toxicity.
Selecting a treatment for prostate cancer is increasingly complex. In an effort to help my prostate cancer patients navigate the complexities of this process, I routinely frame the discussion around these three rules:
Rule #1: If you listen to enough people you will hear just about anything.
All this not withstanding, in my mind there is no doubt that Testosterone Inactivating Pharmaceuticals (TIP), when appropriate and applied in a timely manner, acts effectively to control prostate cancer.