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Radiation therapy technique reduces length of prostate cancer treatment
Date:9/21/2007

DALLAS Sept. 20, 2007 Breihan Bridgewater suffers from emphysema. He sleeps on his side because when he lays flat on his back it feels like theres a boulder resting on his chest.

When the 74-year-old semi-retired electronic technician was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the thought of undergoing surgery or having to lie on his back and undergo more than 40 radiation treatments left him with an uneasy feeling and a decision to make.

The Lewisville resident decided he would not seek treatment for his early-stage prostate cancer.

After Mr. Bridgewater told his UT Southwestern Medical Center doctors that the decision was determined because he didnt believe he could withstand the standard treatment for prostate cancer, they referred him to Dr. Robert Timmerman, vice chairman of radiation oncology.

Dr. Timmerman is leading a national clinical trial testing the effectiveness of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) to treat prostate cancer in five, 30-minute sessions.

The SBRT technique is a relatively new procedure used for treating localized tumors by delivering very high doses of focused radiation. Dr. Timmerman has successfully used the technique to treat patients with lung and liver cancers.

There are a number of good treatments for prostate cancer, but they all have some drawbacks theyre inconvenient; theyre invasive; or they cause impotence, rectal injury or urinary incontinence, said Dr. Timmerman.

The three standard treatment options for early stage prostate cancer are:

  • Prostatectomy, the surgical removal of the prostate gland, which can be done with minimally invasive techniques and robotic assistance;
  • Brachytherapy, in which doctors implant numerous small radioactive seeds about the size of a grain of rice into the prostate gland using multiple large needles inserted through the skin. Once implanted, the seeds release their radioactivity directly into the
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Contact: Connie Piloto
connie.piloto@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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