Higher Radiation Therapy Doses Over Shorter Time Show No Added Side Effects in Men with Prostate Cancer.

Delivering higher doses of radiation therapy over a shorter time period — an approach called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) — does not worsen side effects in men with localized prostate cancer, compared to conventional radiation therapy, a Phase 3 trial shows. The study also suggests that SBRT delivered through the CyberKnife System is less toxic for the genitourinary system than conventional linear accelerators used for this kind of radiation therapy. The research was published in an article in the journal The Lancet Oncology.

Accuray’s CyberKnife is a robotic system that delivers SBRT to the prostate and other organs. This approach involves very high doses of radiation over a smaller number of treatment sessions compared to conventional radiation therapy. As the prostate can move unpredictably during the course of treatment, tracking its position and correcting the radiation delivery site are key. CyberKnife offers continual imaging and automatic beam delivery corrections through its Synchrony technology, which helps increase treatment efficacy and spare healthy tissue, according to the company.

The international, Accuray-funded PACE-B Phase 3 trial (NCT01584258) was designed to compare SBRT to conventional radiation therapy in men who were ineligible for surgery, had low or intermediate risk cancer, and to determine if the CyberKnife system provided any benefits over other SBRT delivery systems. Patients assigned to SBRT received five sessions over one or two weeks, while those on conventional radiotherapy had either 39 sessions over eight weeks, or 20 sessions over four weeks. The trial included 874 men and took place in the U.K., Ireland, and Canada. In both groups, 90% of the patients had intermediate-risk prostate cancer.

Clinical assessments and patient-completed questionnaires showed that SBRT and conventional radiation therapy resulted in similar levels of acute gastrointestinal and genitourinary side effects over three months. No treatment-related deaths occurred in either group. The researchers also found that moderate or worse genitourinary side effects were less common in CyberKnife users (12%) than in non-users (31%). Gastrointestinal side effects were similar in both groups. In a news release, researchers said the results are “promising, and for the first time show in a large patient group that giving five large doses of SBRT is safe in the short term.” Of note, eight of the study’s authors received grants and/or personal fees from Accuray.

The above information first appeared in the Oct. 3rd e mail edition of Prostate Cancer News Today, by Jose Marques Lopes, Ph.D.

Part 2. Why Am I Writing This Website?

This post is Part 2 following “Prostate Cancer Is My Assignment” posted Oct. 16th. Since 1995, I had been treated for prostate cancer at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD. My excellent urologist, who knew me well, was aware I had kept a “prostate diary” over the course of my condition and urged me to write a book describing my cancer experiences. Upon considering and praying about the issue, I was clearly led to create this website, Godandprostate.net. My rationale was that books about prostate cancer necessarily have endings whereas a website can be continuous as long as there are new developments and personal experiences to relate. This site also enables me to incorporate my career knowledge in organic and medicinal chemistry and personal interactions with medical researchers coupled with the spiritual experiences and lessons God has been teaching me during these years. Anne Graham Lotz, Billy Graham’s daughter, also kept an e book detailing her experiences. She is now writing a book and embarking on speaking tours. Like her, I can also unequivocally say that cancer also continues to be my assignment.

So why am I writing this website?

1. From my experience, it seems that men are more reluctant to discuss their personal health issues with one another than are women. So perhaps sharing some of my experiences via a website could initiate more dialog.

2. Many men have shared with me that when first diagnosed with prostate cancer, they were quietly fearful, some forseeing negative outcomes and side effects. Their first reaction was the “get rid of it now syndrome.” They often quickly jumped at the first recommendation given by a urologist without seeking 2nd and 3rd opinions. I know several men who regretted not seeking more advice. They should have taken the time to research out the possibilities and options before committing to a treatment plan, given the array of therapeutic choices. Men should also know how to interact with medical personnel, asking the right questions, receiving the clearest answers. A website such as this could provide considerable information addressing cancer screening, diagnostics, genetics, therapeutic options and their effects, linked references to manuals published by prostate cancer organizations, as well as spiritual encouragement.

3. Looking back to my own first experiences in 1995, I can now see that many more options have become available over time. The concept of “watchful waiting” or “active surveillance” was not as universally accepted then as it is now. Modes of therapy such as forms of radiation have been vastly refined and provide more targeted treatment while minimizing collateral damage to other organs. Men should be made aware of new therapeutic modalities as late stage clinical trial data become available.

4. I have also written this website to provide hope to men at any stage of their cancer. Hope certainly is fostered through access to excellent physicians but even more so, it is available to all through a personal and interactive relationship with God and Jesus Christ. After all, who better to care for our bodies other than the One who made them. According to Psalm 139:13-14, “For You (God) formed my inward parts; You did ‘weave’ me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” The use of the word “weave” seems especially significant when one considers the intricate, coiled, double-helical structure of DNA, the molecular basis of life. It seems God literally “wove” our genetic material and bodies together in the most beautiful and intricate pattern. Therefore, it is not surprising that God wants to have a central role in our health. We are instructed to “present our bodies, a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is our spiritual (translated ‘rational’) service of worship (Romans 12:1).

5. Another purpose of this website is to share Biblical truths with men. We grow spiritually and mentally when we are “stretched” as in times of crises. In my own life, I can become complacant in times of “calm seas”. Having cancer has helped me to learn to pray and trust in my total dependance on God and the wisdom of the physicians to whom He has directed me. I have experienced God’s closeness in times of anxiety like none other. Testing of our faith produces endurance resulting in the fact that we can be perfect and complete lacking in nothing (see James 1:3-4). Christ’s unique gift of peace can also rule in our hearts and minds according to John 14:27. “Peace I give to you not as the world gives. Let not your heart be troubled nor let it be fearful.”

6. I have written this website to encourage men spiritually. God wants to be glorified in all aspects of our lives regardless of disease. Jesus, upon healing a blind man in John 9:1-3, proclaimed that the man’s blindness was not a result of some sinful action, but that the “works of God may be displayed in him.” Such can be the case for us as well. Jesus also raised his friend Lazarus from the dead even after a delay of three days, for the glory of God, that the Son of God (Jesus) may be glorified by it. (John 11:4).

7. Finally and most importantly, I am writing this website to share how we all can have a personal relationship with God, our Father, by placing our faith in His Son, Jesus, who paid the penalty for all our sins and mistakes via His death and, in addition by His resurrection, offers us the gift of eternal life in a new heaven and a new earth with new, perfect bodies. “For God so loved the world (us), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes (trusts) in Him, should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16.) Hopefully, we who are concerned about prostate cancer will live for many years. But as we age we wonder what comes after this current life? Do we just cease to exist? We begin to focus on eternal values. We are eternal beings created to have fellowship with God forever. But we need to be sure where we will spend eternity and never be separated from God. Just after citing the famous golden rule, Jesus Himself said “for the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and few are those who find it” (Matthew 7:14). Jesus has also promised when He said “I came that we may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10.) My sincere wish in writing this site is one day to meet many of you men who may have read this website and enjoy your fellowship forever in perfect bodies with no concern about prostate cancer or any other condition.