TOMS RIVER, NJ, January 5, 2009 – David J. D’Ambrosio, MD, a radiation oncologist at the J. Phillip Citta Regional Cancer Center at Community Medical Center, recently published an article in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology Physics, the primary scientific journal for Radiation Oncology, on the topic of prostate cancer. The article, “Does treatment duration affect outcome after radiotherapy for prostate cancer?” appeared in the December 2008 issue of the publication.
The article discusses whether treatment breaks during external beam radiotherapy for prostate cancer is detrimental. Essentially, the research proves that men with low risk prostate cancer who miss more than two radiation treatments in an eight week treatment cycle face an increased risk of their cancer recurring.
Dr. D’Ambrosio said, “Results of prior studies of the treatment break effect have been mixed, with the majority showing no disadvantage to treatment breaks. In the current study, a detrimental effect was seen for favorable-risk patients when the number of non-treatment days during a course of radiotherapy was one third or more.” More favorable patient characteristics, more effective higher radiation doses, and long-term follow-up may explain why the relative importance of treatment interruptions is significant, he added.
Generally, Dr. D’Ambrosio said, a typical course of external beam therapy such as IMRT for prostate cancer patients is about five days a week for eight weeks. “Eight weeks can be a significant time commitment for some men,” he said. “There is a potential for missed treatments during this time period.
He added, "Our findings show that when men with low risk prostate cancer miss more than two treatment days over eight weeks, their risk of the cancer recurring increases. This highlights the importance of finishing treatment without breaks, once it has begun."
He explained that for men with low risk prostate cancer, controlling cancer in the prostate and keeping it from spreading outside of the prostate makes the greatest difference for these patients. In this study, for men with high and intermediate risk cancers, two days of missed treatment did not seem to have as great an impact. Despite this, treatment breaks are still discouraged.
The Radiation Oncology Department at J. Phillip Citta Regional Cancer Center is accredited by the American College of Radiation Oncology (ACRO) and offers a full array of radiation oncology services including external beam three dimensional (3D) conformal radiation therapy, high-rate dose and low-dose rate brachytherapy, intensity modulated and image guided radiation therapy (IMRT and IGRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery.
The department of Radiation Oncology has the latest technologies in computer-assisted precision targeting of tumors, avoiding healthy tissues and organs, which minimizes side effects. A new, state-of-the-art wide bore CT Simulator assists with complex treatment planning combining fluoroscopic like x-ray films with rapid spiral CT scanning. This equipment decreases patient simulation (set-up time) to 30 minutes.
More cancer patients are treated at Community Medical Center than any other radiation oncology department in Ocean or Monmouth County. The radiation oncology team consists of board certified radiation oncologists and physicists. Nurses who specialize in oncology, registered radiation therapists, licensed clinical social workers and a front office staff dedicated to meeting the complex needs of the patient complete the patient care team. This multidisciplinary effort ensures total medical, emotional, and psychological care of the patient before, during and after treatment.
For more information on the J. Phillip Citta Regional Cancer Center at Community Medical Center, call (732) 557-8148 or visit www.barnabashealthradonc.org.
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