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Martha Jefferson Healthwise -- August 26th

August 26, 2009

According to American Cancer Society estimates, over 192,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2009. Although about one in six men will be diagnosed during their lifetime, it is a highly treatable form of cancer, with both surgical and radiation treatment options.

Joining CBS19 for Martha Jefferson Healthwise this week is Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Sylvia Hendrix. Dr. Hendrix talked about radiation therapy for prostate cancer.

Click on the video tab to watch the full interview.

**Here is the script of the interview**

Beth Duffy: WHAT IS RADIATION THERAPY AND WHEN IS IT USED FOR THE TREATMENT OF PROSTATE CANCER?

SH: Radiation therapy for cancer is the use of high-energy x-rays to damage cancer cells and therefore prevents them from growing and dividing. We often use radiation in the treatment of localized or locally advanced prostate cancer. For these types of cancer, cure rates are much like those for surgery to remove the prostate. This is called a radical prostatectomy.

BD: WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF RADIATION THERAPIES FOR PROSTATE CANCER?

SH: The two main types of radiation therapy are external beam radiation and brachytherapy (or internal radiation). Both are good methods of treating prostate cancer.

Brachytherapy, or internal radiation therapy, is generally used only for men in the earlier stages of prostate cancer. brachytherapy includes the use of small, rice-sized radioactive pellets, or "seeds". They are inserted directly into the prostate and provide a continuous dose of radiation for a specific time. This is usually an outpatient surgical procedure and is often combined with external beam radiation.

BD: HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THESE RADIATION THERAPIES? ARE THEIR OUTCOMES AS POSITIVE AS SURGICAL OPTIONS?

SH: Most doctors now believe that external radiation, radical prostatectomy and brachytherapy have about the same cure rates for the earliest stage of prostate cancer. Of course, the key for any of these therapies is to catch the cancer as early as possible.

There are now excellent methods for the early detection of prostate cancer, and Martha Jefferson Hospital will be holding a prostate cancer screening on Saturday, September 26, from 8-10:30, in the main hospital.


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