What is Radiation for Prostate Cancer?

Radiation therapy is a standard curative treatment for prostate cancer.  In this video we discuss the risks.

Read the full video transcript below:

This video is an overview of radiation therapy for prostate cancer. 

This is a side view of the pelvis with the tailbone in the back, the rectum just in front of it, and the prostate gland in red right in the middle.

Radiation therapy is given to the entire gland, so the shaded area you see here gets the full dose of radiation. Radiation therapy is a non-invasive treatment with an invisible beam applied to your body while you lay down on a bed. 

The risks of treatment are predominantly determined by the other organs in the area. Irritation of the bladder and urethra can cause more frequent or urgent urination, as well as waking up more at night to urinate. Irritation of the rectum can cause diarrhea.

Less common but possible side effects are late complications many months or years after radiation, including irritation of the rectum called proctitis, irritation of the bladder called cystitis, bleeding, erectile dysfunction, or urinary obstruction.

This is not medical advice. Talk to your doctor before making a medical decision.