For Individuals with Prostate Cancer, “Creating Space” During Radiation Treatment Could Make All the Difference


Posted: March 25, 2022 | Word Count: 1,062

Three years ago, Alex Lamb, an active retiree just shy of 80 years old, was happily preparing for a big move to be closer to his son. Then he received a prostate cancer diagnosis.

“It was a total shock to me. I found out by going in for a regular check-up,” said Alex, who didn’t experience any symptoms. “I was lucky because otherwise, I may not have found out until my cancer progressed. The news was hard to hear at first, but I didn’t let it get me down. I believed there would be a way forward.”

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men, behind skin cancer.1 Compared with many other cancers, prostate cancer grows slowly and is most often found in early stages. Some cases may not require treatment while others are highly treatable through options such as surgery and/or radiation therapy.2,3 In Alex’s case, his physician felt that his best option was radiation, an approach that more than 60,000 American men opt to treat prostate cancer with every year.4

While the various treatment options have proven to be effective, they can come at a cost to some patients’ quality of life in the form of potentially severe side effects, depending on the dose and the amount of healthy tissue that is exposed to the radiation.5 Due to the prostate’s close proximity to the rectum, radiation therapy can unintentionally cause what’s called rectal toxicity, where patients experience damage to the healthy tissue surrounding the prostate, which can create issues with urinary, sexual and bowel functions.5,6,7

For the growing number of patients who opt for this form of treatment, there is an option that may help reduce the potential damage. SpaceOAR™ Hydrogel is an absorbable gel that creates a temporary space between the prostate and the rectum, and is designed to help reduce the radiation dose to the rectum during radiation therapy. It is inserted via a minimally invasive procedure and is naturally absorbed by the body in about six months.6

SpaceOAR Hydrogel has been shown to reduce grade 1 rectal toxicity by up to 75% in patients at 3 years of follow-up.8 Further, patients who didn’t receive SpaceOAR Hydrogel were also eight times as likely to report a drop in quality of life as a result of their radiation therapy.8,9

“After receiving my cancer diagnosis, I knew I didn’t want to be treated with medication,” said Alex. “I opted for radiation therapy, but after hearing about the potential side effects, I was excited to learn about SpaceOAR Hydrogel from my physician. The procedure to insert the spacer was fairly straightforward. I received it in the morning with general anesthesia and was ready to go home by lunchtime. Within two days, I was back to exercising.”*

Three years later, Alex has completed his radiation treatments and is considered in remission from prostate cancer. He is now living near his son and daughter-in-law, and says he feels as healthy as ever. He credits his care team with helping him recover from prostate cancer and is grateful that his post-treatment symptoms have been minimal.

“It’s so important to get regularly screened for prostate cancer and for those who are diagnosed to know that they have a path forward,” said Alex. “If I hadn’t gone in for a screening, and if my doctor hadn’t recommended SpaceOAR Hydrogel, I might be in a very different position today. I would recommend you talk to your doctor, explore your options and find the treatment plan that works best for you.”

To learn more about the importance of early detection for prostate cancer and to talk to a local doctor about treatment options, including radiation therapy with the use of SpaceOAR Hydrogel, visit https://www.spaceoar.com/ or Find a Doctor in your area.

As with any medical treatment, results from case studies like Alex’s are not necessarily predictive of results in other cases. Potential complications associated with SpaceOAR Hydrogel include, but are not limited to, pain or discomfort associated with injection, needle penetration of the bladder, prostate, rectal wall, rectum or urethra, inflammatory reactions, infection, urinary retention, rectal mucosal damage, ulcers, necrosis, bleeding and rectal urgency.10 Safety information as well as a complete list of potential side effects associated with SpaceOAR Hydrogel can be found online at https://www.spaceoar.com/risks/.

Sources:

  1. American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Accessed November 2021.
  2. Mayo Clinic. Prostate Cancer. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostate-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20353087. Accessed November 2021.
  3. Cancer.gov. Treatment Choices for Men With Early-Stage Prostate Cancer. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/prostate-cancer-treatment-choices.pdf. Accessed March 2022.
  4. Prostate Cancer Foundation. Treatment for Prostate Cancer: External-Beam Radiation Therapy. Available at: https://www.pcf.org/c/treatment-for-prostate-cancer-external-beam-radiation-therapy/. Accessed November 2021.
  5. Mayo Clinic. External Beam Radiation for Prostate Cancer. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/external-beam-radiation-for-prostate-cancer/about/pac-20384743. Accessed November 2021.
  6. SpaceOAR.com. How Does SpaceOAR Hydrogel Work? Available at: https://www.spaceoar.com/about-spaceoar-hydrogel/how-spaceoar-hydrogel-works/. Accessed March 2022.
  7. Odrazka, K., Dolezel, M., Vanasek, J. et al. Time course of late rectal toxicity after radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 13, 138–143 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/pcan.2009.56
  8. Hamstra DA, Mariados N, Sylvester J, et al. Continued benefit to rectal separation for prostate radiation therapy: Final results of a phase III trial. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2017 Apr 1;97(5):976-85.
  9. Hamstra D, Shah D, Kurtzman S, et al. Evaluation of sexual function on a randomized trial of a prostate rectal spacer. J Clin Oncol. 2017 February 20;35(Suppl 6):69.
  10. SpaceOAR.com. SpaceOAR Hydrogel Risks. Available at https://www.spaceoar.com/risks/. Accessed March 2022.

*Patient experience varies. Speak with your doctor as individual recovery varies. Experience may not be representative of all cases.

Caution: U.S. Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician.

Results from case studies are not necessarily predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.

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