ALTOONA – Men with prostate cancer have a new treatment tool available — Image Guided Radiation Therapy — which allows daily radiation therapy to be delivered directly to the gland with fewer complications to surrounding organs.
This is accomplished through the implantation of gold marker seeds, which pinpoint the prostate gland’s location within the pelvis. By precisely locating the gland, a smaller treatment field can be used. The prostate’s position within the pelvis changes slightly on a daily basis due to differences in rectal and bladder fullness.
Prior to IGRT, the accepted practice was to use the bones of the pelvis as reference points of the treatment field. No way existed to use the internal anatomy to locate the prostate gland.
The gold marker seeds make the prostate gland visible and enable the treatment area to be substantially reduced. This limits radiation exposure to the bladder and rectum and reduces complications for the patient.
This treatment is currently limited to those patients who will receive Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy treatments.
In the physician’s office, three gold marker seeds are placed in the prostate gland. The seeds are 1.2 by 3.0 millimeters.This is similar in size to a grain of rice.