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Radiation Oncology for Prostate Cancer

Highly Targeted Radiotherapy for Better Quality of Life

The University of Michigan radiation oncology team offers the most advanced, highly accurate radiation treatments for prostate cancer. These advances are possible thanks to our dedication to the latest prostate cancer research and clinical trials where new diagnostic and treatment techniques are constantly studied and developed.

Michigan Medicine radiation oncologist, Robert Dess, M.D., talks about radiation therapy options for prostate cancer patients. Areas of focus include external beam and internal (brachytherapy) radiation.

Read/download the Radiation Therapy: Prostate Cancer transcript.

Using all available tools from tumor genetics, advanced imaging, and radiotherapy technology, the University of Michigan Prostate Cancer Radiotherapy Program will personalize a radiotherapy plan specifically to result in the best chance of cure while minimizing side effects. The goal is cure with quality of life. Using the latest technology and through years of research and clinical experience we can deliver your treatment from as few as five treatments for appropriate patients, to 20 treatments for most patients, and for patients not eligible for shorter forms of treatment we deliver a more standard 8-9 weeks regimen or a combination of both internal and external forms of radiation therapy.

Our radiation oncologists are part of a multidisciplinary team that is focused on improving the outcomes for your cancer – even the most advanced stages of prostate cancer. Together with urologists, pathologists, radiologists, nurses with oncology training, medical physicists and other specialists, our experts develop an individualized care plan that attempts to minimize the number of radiotherapy treatments while maximizing your quality of life

Greater Accuracy Through MRI Diagnosis

An effective radiation treatment course for prostate cancer begins with a highly precise diagnosis to find and study any prostate cancer lesions. Our team at the University of Michigan have designed advanced diagnostic tests using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment that offer exact locations for potentially malignant or cancerous tissue. The MRI also helps physicians differentiate the prostate cancer from the surrounding healthy tissue for more accurate radiotherapy.

With precise lesion locations, a biopsy is performed and then sent to our expert pathology team to study the molecular make-up of the tissue sample. The radiation oncologist will work with other providers to design the most effective radiation treatment course. Not only with the MRI be used to ensure that all of the cancer is treated, it will also be used to avoid critical structures involved in erectile function, as well as bowel and bladder function.

Range of Radiation Treatments for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer can grow very slowly or more aggressively. Radiation therapy is a highly effective non-invasive method that achieves identical cure rates to radical surgical removal. Treatment courses are then adjusted based on the cancer’s reaction to the treatments. In addition to standard treatments, we offer many novel treatments that have been highly successful for other prostate cancer patients thanks to the Rogel Cancer Center’s research and clinical trials.

Some of the more advanced radiation oncology treatments for prostate cancer we offer include:

  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT): This is a highly targeted treatment that has been advanced through our clinical trials. An entire treatment course can be completed in five 45 minute sessions instead of 42 treatments delivered over 8-9 weeks.
  • Image-Guided Radiation Therapy: This treatment technology uses imaging equipment to both identify the target and help the radiation oncologist eliminate the cancerous tissue while avoiding healthy areas. This is done by acquiring daily images of the prostate during treatment to ensure what we plan to treat is actually treated, nothing more, nothing less.
  • SpaceOAR: an injection of this gel spacer protects healthy tissue from the effects of prostate cancer treatment. Safe and clinically proven, this advancement in care minimizes sexual and bowel side effects to improve quality of life for our patients with fewer long-term complications.
  • Brachytherapy: A great treatment option for select patient. This is a method to deliver internal radiation therapy through catheters. This avoids the need for multiple visits with external radiation for appropriate patients.
  • Vessel-Sparing Radiotherapy: This technique was developed at the University of Michigan, and we are the only center in the world that routinely employs this technique. By sparing structures involved in erectile function, our group has published the highest reported sexual function preservation rates in the literature to date on any clinical trial. Over 90% of men remained sexually active 5-years post-treatment. This technique leverages MRI technology and image-guided radiotherapy.

Compassionate, Individualized Care

Regardless of the treatment path you and your prostate cancer team choose for your specific prostate cancer diagnosis, your quality of life will always be among our top priorities. That is the kind of individualized, compassionate care you can expect from the University of Michigan and the Rogel Cancer Center.

Contact Us Today

To learn more about our prostate cancer treatment options, including a range of radiation oncology treatments for prostate cancer, or to schedule an appointment, please call 734-647-8902 (Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm EST).