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Targeted radiation therapy minimizes GI side effects for prostate cancer patients, Penn study shows
Date:10/26/2010

SAN DIEGO -- Prostate cancer patients who receive intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) are less apt to suffer serious gastrointestinal complications following their treatment than those who receive three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (CRT), according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The study, which will be presented Nov. 1 at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in San Diego, found that men who were treated with IMRT had fewer serious bowel complications, including painful rectal inflammation and bleeding (3.5 percent), compared to those who received CRT (4.5 percent).

"While radiotherapy is highly effective in treating prostate cancer, men may live with gastrointestinal, urinary and sexual side effects of treatment for many years. Minimizing these side effects and improving men's quality of life after prostate cancer treatment is incredibly important," says Justin Bekelman, MD, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Our study offers important evidence to patients and their doctors that IMRT is associated with fewer gastrointestinal problems after treatment."

CRT, the conventional form of radiation therapy, uses imaging studies including CT, MRI and PET scans to map the size, shape and location of tumors and the other organs in the area. IMRT is a more advanced version of CRT, offering a more targeted dose of radiation to the cancerous prostate gland. Since both forms of radiation pass all the way through the body after attacking their target, healthy tissue in the rectum and bladder may be damaged by the radiation beam, causing side effects during and after treatment. Though Medicare and private insurers typically cover both IMRT and CRT, little research has been conducted to show which treatment is associated with less side effects an important considerati
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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5659
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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