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Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. Radiation may be used for prostate cancer:
The amount of radiation given during treatment, and when and how it is given, will be different for each person.
Prostate cancer is usually treated with external beam radiation therapy. A machine directs radiation to the tumour and some of the surrounding tissue.
Brachytherapy is internal radiation therapy. A radioactive material (radioactive isotope) is placed right into the tumour. The radiation kills the cancer cells over time.
Multiple radioactive implants are surgically placed right into the prostate. This is called interstitial brachytherapy. Implants can be temporary or permanent.
Brachytherapy is used mainly for low-risk and intermediate-risk prostate cancer. Combined external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy may be used for high-risk prostate cancer.
Systemic radiation therapy is a type of radiation therapy in which radioactive material travels through the bloodstream to reach cells all over the body.
Radium RA 223 dichloride (Xofigo) is a systemic radiation therapy drug, which may be used for castrate-resistant prostate cancer that has spread only to the bone and is causing pain.
The Canadian Cancer Society is actively lobbying the federal government to establish a national caregivers strategy to ensure there is more financial support for this important group of people.