What to Expect following diagnosis of Prostate Cancer:
From the time of your diagnosis to the end of treatment, the experts at the Prostate Cancer Center are there for you, ready to answer your questions and allay any concerns you may have.
1. Your urologist may send you for a consultation with one of our radiation oncologists to assess whether your cancer is appropriate for radiation therapy and to learn more about all your treatment options. The radiation therapy course will be thoroughly explained to you. We will also discuss specific radiation treatment expectations, side effects and potential risks.
2. Should you elect to undergo external beam radiation, your urologist will implant three tiny metallic markers into the prostate gland to assist the radiation team in performing accurate IGRT (Image Guided Radiation Therapy) target localization before each treatment. The marker implantation is a simple in-office procedure requiring only a few minutes to complete.
3. In 7-14 days after the markers are implanted, you will be scheduled for a CT scan to localize the exact position of the metallic markers in your prostate gland, and to gather its specific size and shape data for computerized treatment planning.
4. Each treatment plan is carefully customized by a team of radiation oncologists, radiation physicists and dosimetrists for your specific prostate gland tumor and body habitus. This process may take one to two week's time.
5. You will then be scheduled to return to the radiation therapy department to perform the final treatment planning on the therapy treatment couch to assure all the planning parameters are accurate prior to initiating your therapy course.
6. For those receiving primary radiation therapy (without prior surgery), a usual treatment course consists of 43 or 44 daily sessions over an 8 to 9 week period. Treatments generally last 10 to 12 minutes and involve no pain or discomfort during the therapy.
If radiation is given after surgery, usually 6 to 7 weeks of therapy is prescribed.