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High Dose Radiation for Prostate Cancer Won't Raise Sexual Dysfunction
Date:10/30/2007

Technology ups treatment effectiveness without boosting this side effect, study finds

TUESDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Among prostate cancer patients undergoing a high-tech form of radiation therapy, exposure to a higher amount of radiation over a shorter time span poses no added risk for impaired sexual function, new research reveals.

"For men getting a high dose of radiation in a shorter amount of time than is typical -- meaning getting higher doses per day for fewer days -- a loss of sexual function is the chronic side effect that concerns most," noted study co-author Dr. Eric Horwitz, a clinical director in the department of radiation oncology at Fox Chase Medical Center in Philadelphia.

"But we found that sexual function wasn't any worse than when patients got radiation in the conventional high-dose way," he said.

Horwitz and lead author Mark Buyyounouski, also at Fox Chase, were expected to present their team's findings at the annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, in Los Angeles.

The finding comes on the heels of work conducted at Fox Chase last year. That study indicated that high-dose radiation should be considered the first line of attack in combating prostate cancer, given that it appears to be the most effective way to limit the disease's spread.

The team focused on a form of radiation therapy called intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). According to the American Cancer Society, IMRT is a cutting-edge, 3-D form of high-dose radiation therapy. The treatment is delivered by a computer-controlled machine that moves around the patient to target diseased tissue while avoiding healthy tissue, thereby allowing for the safer use of higher doses of radiation.

In the current study, Horwitz and his colleagues tracked the IMRT radiation treatment outcomes of 155 men diagnosed with intermediate to high-risk prostate cancer.


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