There are many treatments for prostate cancer and one of them is radiation therapy. Within radiation therapy, there are all sorts of treatments for prostate cancer and one of them is stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) also known as CyberKnife.
In this episode, Dr. Geo and this week’s guest, Dr. Johnathan Haas explore why SBRT might be a good option for treating prostate cancer. Dr. Jonathan Haas, MD is a Radiation Oncology Specialist in Mineola, NY. He is affiliated with medical facilities NYU Langone Health Tisch Hospital and NYU Langone Hospital—Long Island. I love this episode for so many reasons, one of them being that Johnathan Haas is an expert and my go-to guy for SBRT.
Let’s get into it.
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How Does Radiation Therapy Work with Prostate Cancer
Oncology consists of three major disciplines: surgical oncology, medical oncology, and radiation oncology. The way radiation works is that it creates high-dose particles of energy or radiation beams that interact and work on the cellular level. It damages the DNA of the cancer cells. The goal of radiation is to kill the cancer cells and protect the healthy ones.
And the way the radiation works is through this oxidative stress process that breaks apart the free radicals our bodies produce from water molecules. I’m sure you have been told that you should be taking antioxidants to take away the free radicals but in order for it to have an impact, you would have to eat six pounds a day which I believe no one is going to do.
Let’s get back to prostate cancer, we have external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and then we have SBRT which is stereotactic body radiation therapy. The main difference between EBRT and SBRT is the number of sessions is massive. EBRT usually takes 40 to 42 sessions while SBRT takes 5.
The Pros and Cons of SBRT
As stated before there are many different options when it comes to radiation therapy but with regards to SBRT, the advantages with SBRT come from the period of time it takes to combat cancer. You’re getting the similar dosage that you would be getting to EBRT but with a fraction of the sessions, it would take.
Now, SBRT is more convenient but like with anything, there are side effects and one of the side effects with radiation is urinary frequency. Patients will experience peeing a little bit more frequently temporarily and only 2% of patients that do radiation does urinary frequency becomes a chronic thing. A urologist can do a small procedure called the green light which opens up the prostate or open up the urethra. There is also a chance of roughly 25% risk men will experience erectile dysfunction with SBRT which is better than other forms of radiation that can induce up to a 40% possibility of erectile dysfunction.
I know that some of those side effects are not the most enjoyable but here is what I will tell you. The impact of SBRT in reducing prostate cancer is effective and convenient for you as the patient. What is important to remember is that if you’re not operating well before prostate cancer meaning not in good health, overweight, or have lingering problems with your health, it more than likely will not improve afterwards. Your health is vital in all stages of life and you can always change and commit to living longer and healthier with age. SBRT is favorable with men who have a low risk of the disease and have a low risk Gleason six or intermediate risk Gleason seven but there is more evidence that high risk patients can be great candidates for SBRT. WIth high risk patients, there will be some staging that needs to happen meaning sending them for additional scans to make sure the cancer has not spread.
Once clarity is acheived around that, SBRT does seem like a solid option for high risk and research is being done as we speak to determine it will be the best long term option for all patients.
Listen to the full episode on Apple, Spotify and wherever you get your podcast. You can also watch the full episode on Youtube.
To find out more about SBRT and if it’s a good fit for you, you reach out to Dr. Haas and his team at 1 833 663 2927.
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