With external beam irradiation, marks on the body are used to center the patient in the radiation field. However, the prostate gland may not be centered because of its motion within the body. On a daily basis, the prostate gland can move more than 1/2 inch in various directions within the pelvis because of differences in rectal and bladder filling. Gold marker localization solves this problem by using a system of implanted gold seeds to enable daily localization of the prostate gland. The result is better accuracy in targeting the prostate and avoiding the rectum and bladder.
The IGRT procedure, administered with the assistance of Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), decreases the amount of time needed to treat patients and helps physicians deliver a higher dose of radiation directly to the tumor without harm to surrounding organs and structures.
According to urologist Charles Cartwright, M.D., "IGRT enables us to shape the radiation beam to each patient's specific anatomy. It allows for the most accurate dose of radiation to treat the prostate and helps patients experience fewer side effects."
Treatment with gold marker localization begins when Dr. Cartwright implants three tiny gold markers in the prostate. These markers clearly indicate a target for the radiation beam and ensure accuracy. Patients usually receive treatment five days per week for about eight weeks.
For more information about prostate cancer treatment options at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute Waterman, please call 352.253.3610.