Dr. Henderson on the Benefits of Proton Therapy in Prostate Cancer

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Randal H. Henderson, MD, MBA, professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, associate medical director, University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute, discusses the benefits of proton therapy in prostate cancer.

Randal H. Henderson, MD, MBA, professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, associate medical director, University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute, discusses the benefits of proton therapy in prostate cancer.

More normal tissue can be spared with proton therapy as compared with traditional intensity-modulated radiation therapy (MRT), says Henderson. Additionally, patients who undergo proton therapy are spared unnecessary doses of radiation to their bladder or rectum and thus, added complications. Notably, rectal complications have been linked with the amount of rectum that is exposed to radiation, adds Henderson.

Two types of injury can occur from radiation therapy; these injuries are dependent on the dosage of radiation received. For example, high doses of radiation can result in rectal bleeding and ulcerations. Both proton therapy and IMRT treat a small area of the anterior rectal wall at high intensity, notes Henderson. However, the 2 approaches diverge in the expanse of the remainder of the rectum treated. Protons completely spare the posterior part of the rectal wall whereas IMRT treats the entire circumference of the rectal wall, explains Henderson.

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