Print Friendly

What is
External Beam Radiation Therapy?

External beam radiation therapy ( such as IMRT, 3-d Conformal, Cyberknife, and Proton Beam techniques) uses a beam of radiation directed through the skin, bones and other normal tissues  to destroy the prostate tumor and any nearby cancer cells. To accomplish this, the treatments are typically given five days a week, Monday through Friday, for a number of weeks (up to 50 visits). This “fractionation of the treatment” allows doctors to get enough radiation into the body to kill the cancer while giving healthy cells time each day to recover.

The radiation beam is usually generated by a machine called a linear accelerator. The linear accelerator, or linac, is capable of producing high-energy X-rays and electrons for the treatment of your cancer. Using high-tech treatment planning software, your treatment team controls the size and shape of the beam, as well as how it is directed at your body, to effectively treat your tumor while sparing the surrounding normal tissue.

Treatment Facts

  • External Beam Radiation can cure early prostate cancers. (T1-T2a)
  • External Beam Radiation is an outpatient procedure.
  • The usual treatment course is 5 days per week, 1 hour per day.
  • External Beam Radiation can takes up to 50 daily treatment sessions without break (10 weeks) .

Possible Side Effects

External Beam Radiation may have the following possible side effects:

Sexuality: impotence

Urinary Difficulties: incontinence, frequent urination and urgency (feeling the need to urinate), burning sensation while urinating, blood in the urine

Gastrointestinal Changes: blood appearing in stool, irritated intestines and rectum, diarrhea or constipation

Skeletal:  damage to hip joints causing fibrosis or increased risk of fracture

Dr. Cole’s 30 years of experience has helped thousands of patients complete the treatment.

Learn More About This Treatment