Prostate Cancer Radiotherapy Won't Affect Sexual Function

New high-dose technology targets tumor tissue, experts say

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MONDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) High-dose precision radiation therapy doesn't harm the sexual function of prostate cancer patients, U.S. researchers say.

A team at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia tracked 155 men with intermediate- to high-risk prostate cancer who underwent intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), a technique that more precisely targets the tumor.

"IMRT is revolutionizing how we treat men with prostate cancer, because it improves our ability to avoid normal tissue. As a result, more radiation dose can be delivered to the prostate by increasing the amount of radiation each day. Increasing the radiation used each day is particularly attractive, because it also shortens the treatment time by several days," study lead author Dr. Mark Buyyounouski, attending physician in the radiology department at Fox Chase, said in a prepared statement.

"We need to make sure there's a balance between risk and benefit, and sexual function is a major consideration. Fortunately, this study shows no decrease in sexual function from the higher doses of radiation," he said.

One group of men in the study received 2 Gy of radiation in 38 sessions over seven weeks, three days, while another group received 2.7 Gy in 26 sessions over five weeks, one day. At six months, one year, and two years after treatment, there were no significant differences in sexual function scores between the two groups.

The findings were expected to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, in Los Angeles.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians outlines prostate cancer treatments.

SOURCE: Fox Chase Cancer Center, news release, Oct. 29, 2007

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