Thursday, May 12, 2016

Prostate cancer cure minus the side effects

Credit: University of Michigan Health System
CANCER DIGEST – May 12, 2016 – The trade-off for eradicating prostate cancer has always been about weighing the benefits of surviving the cancer against a reduced quality of life due to the risks of incontinence and sexual dysfunction.

With the careful use of MR imaging, however, researchers say they can tip the balance in favor of survival while minimizing the risk of adverse effects on quality of life.

Researchers led by Patrick W. McLaughlin, M.D., professor of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan Medical School have found that using MRI to image the functional anatomy around the prostate can allow radiation oncologists to plan a course of treatment for patients with prostate cancer that spares the vessels and nerves necessary for sexual, urinary and rectal function. Their paper appears in the May 2016 Lancet Oncology.

In the study involving 49 men, the team started by defining the critical functions and structures that run through or near the prostate. These include the nerves, vessels and sphincters that control bladder, erectile, and rectal function. 

With a clear outline of the prostate and these critical structures on MRI, radiation oncologists treated the men with a combination of radiation seed implants plus external beam radiation precisely targeting the tumor. With at least five years of follow-up, 92 percent of the men reported they were still able to be sexually active.

In addition, they found that MRI was helpful in guiding patients to the best treatment option based on their unique anatomy.

"For patients who appear to have slow-growing, non-aggressive cancers, MRI can confirm there is no aggressive cancer present. For such patients, surveillance is an excellent choice," McLaughlin says. "By avoiding treatment altogether when appropriate, all the side effects and quality of life impact from treatment is avoided."

No comments:

Post a Comment