Coastal Radiation Oncology Medical Group
world-class cancer care has a local address.

Frequently Asked Questions

All About Radiation Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Q. Are all men with prostate cancer eligible for radiation treatment?

A. Many men without evidence of metastasis (cancer spread to other organs) have a chance to be cured of their cancer by either a prostate seed implant and/or IMRT. Men diagnosed with prostate cancer should consult with both a urologist and a radiation oncologist. They will review your past medical history and current physical condition and discuss the pros and cons of surgery, external radiation, and seed implants. There are treatment protocols for men with both early and advanced stage disease.
Q. How does radiation kill cancer cells?

A. Radiation, in this case, X-ray or Gamma-ray radiation can damage a cancer cell’s ability to multiply, ultimately leading to its death. Cancer cells are much more sensitive to radiation damage than normal cells and are less likely to repair any damage done.

Q. Is it all right to give hormone blockers and radiation together?

A. Yes. Not only is it all right, research has shown that the combination can improve results in men with more advanced or aggressive prostate cancers.

Q. How long will I be out of work with a prostate seed implant?

A. Most men can return to work and their normal activities in 24-48 hours.

Q. Since I have radioactive seeds in my prostate, am I at risk to other people?

A.  The amount of radiation given off outside the body is minimal. However, we do not recommend that you hold pregnant women or young children in your lap for a few months following your implant.

Q. Will I need a urinary catheter after a seed implant?

A. Most men go home without a catheter, but some may need one for up to 24 hours.

Q. Can I have surgery if the cancer re-grows in the prostate after radiation?

A. Ordinarily surgery is not used for a recurrence of prostate cancer. We use other effective treatment modalities.
Q. How do I know if I was cured by a radical prostatectomy?

A. The answer is quite simple. A PSA blood test done two months after surgery should reflect a PSA of less than 0.1.  If this is not the case, you may have some cancer cells left behind that should be irradiated. In this circumstance, we may recommend IMRT external radiation, as there is no longer a prostate in which to accurately implant the seeds.

Q. Is there any hope if I am diagnosed with late/advanced stage prostate cancer that has already spread?

A. Yes. There are many promising hormonal and chemotherapeutic treatments. Our physicians will discuss these options with you and refer you to the relevant specialists.