When it comes to prostate cancer, radiation can be particularly intrusive.

Additional considerations

Dr. Mark Scholz, executive director of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI), a nonprofit patient foundation committed to helping patients discover the latest treatments, explains that in prostate cancer treatment, there is cause for concern.

“The cancer can spread to other parts of the body,” he clarifies, “which can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Surprisingly, radiation used to treat prostate cancer can injure adjacent healthy structures and lead to declines in sexual, urinary and rectal function.”

“Because the prostate is right next to the rectum, when modern radiation is given, there’s a risk…”

A new device

In support of those facing that experience, the PCRI is advocating an innovative new hydrogel spacer, called SpaceOAR.

“Because the prostate is right next to the rectum, when modern radiation is given, there’s a risk,” says Dr. Scholz. “The rectal wall could get burned by the radiation.”

Although this risk is now less than in recent years, the effects are still potentially long-lasting. SpaceOAR is a hydrogel substance that can be injected to protect the areas surrounding the prostate over the course of radiation treatment helping to continuously protect the rectal wall from the time patients are on radiation, which is about 6 to 9 weeks. The hydrogel is absorbed by the body in the months following treatment.

“It’s really an elegant solution,” adds Dr. Scholz, who suspects that, although it is still relatively new to the market, due to the positive responses it has so far received SpaceOAR will only continue to grow in popularity.  “Patients that have learned about and been treated with SpaceOAR have been greatly relieved.”