Are modern irradiation techniques safe when it comes to the risk of second primary tumours after external irradiation for prostate cancer?
Approximately a quarter of prostate cancer patients are externally irradiated. An important disadvantage of external irradiation is that surrounding healthy tissue is also damaged.
About 15-20 years ago a new method was developed to spread the radiation dose, so less radiation ended up on the organs near the prostate and more radiation ended on organs further away.
It is necessary to properly map out whether this method of irradiation entails long-term risks. Radiation therapy is known to cause the risk of new tumours years later. Now that this “new” method with less dose but more tissue is about 15-20 years old, the time is ripe to investigate the risks of long-term side effects.
This research contributes to the knowledge about cancer return after prostate cancer treatment, and how it can be better estimated for new patients to choose the optimal treatment.
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Dr. Wilma Heemsbergen
Role Erasmus MC: