It’s a common concern among men receiving radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Will the treatment result in unpleasant side effects, such as disruption of normal urinary, bowel, or sexual functioning?
Fortunately, Trinity Health now offers a pre-treatment procedure designed to reduce rectal complications after radiation therapy for prostate cancer, the most common cancer in American men.
SpaceOAR™ Hydrogel is the first and only FDA-cleared spacer to help reduce the radiation dose delivered to the rectum of men undergoing prostate radiation treatments. The benefit to patients is fewer side effects and a better quality of life.
“Our risk rate for side effects is already exceedingly low,” said Michael Grant, MD, radiation oncologist at the Trinity CancerCare Center. “The hydrogel spacer provides patients an even greater degree of protection by creating a temporary space between the prostate and the rectum. It allows us to complement the patient’s radiation treatment to better target their cancer while preserving healthy tissue.”
Because of the proximity of the prostate to the rectum, prostate radiation therapy can cause unintended damage to the rectum, which can lead to fecal incontinence issues or other long-lasting side effects.
SpaceOAR Hydrogel is an absorbable gel that is inserted via a minimally invasive procedure. The hydrogel spacer remains in place for about three months. After about six months, the hydrogel is naturally absorbed and cleared from the body in the patient’s urine.
“This is an important advancement for men facing difficult decisions about treating their prostate cancer,” said Trinity Health urologist Diane Bigham, DO, FACOS. “Knowing that an option like SpaceOAR can help limit the risk of damage to other organs during radiation treatment makes those decisions easier, especially for men with early- to mid-stage prostate cancer.”
SpaceOAR is just one example of Trinity Health’s precise cancer-fighting capabilities. With two Varian TrueBeam linear accelerators, the CancerCare Center offers precise radiation treatments utilizing technologies such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). IMRT delivers the highest dose of radiation to the target while sparing surrounding healthy tissue, thereby minimize side effects of external beam radiation treatment