Winter 2010
ASK THE EXPERTS: GPS for the Prostate
ASK THE EXPERTS: GPS for the Prostate

Bruce McGibbon, MD
Q: My doctor has recommended radiation therapy as a treatment for prostate cancer, but I’ve heard it can be difficult to pinpoint the prostate gland. True?

Bruce McGibbon, MD, Radiation Oncologist at Bridgeport Hospital, responds:

A: Radiation therapy is an effective way to kill cancer cells. The challenge is to deliver a high enough dose without harming the surrounding normal tissue. This is especially true when treating prostate cancer because the bladder, rectum and other sensitive structures are so close to the prostate.

The prostate gland naturally shifts around minute by minute due to the filling and emptying of the bladder and rectum. Therefore, to ensure the highest degree of accuracy with radiation therapy, it is essential to find the exact location of the prostate prior to each treatment. Real-time positional information would be ideal, but until recently has been impossible to achieve. The Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Institute at Bridgeport Hospital now proudly uses the Calypso® 4D Localization SystemTM, also known as GPS for the Body®. Just as a global positioning system (GPS) can track the location of a car, the Calypso System uses radiofrequency technology to locate and track the prostate gland during a radiation treatment.

Before radiation therapy begins, three tiny Beacon® electromagnetic transponders, each the size of a grain of rice, are implanted in the prostate. This procedure can be done at the hospital or in a doctor’s office.

During radiation treatment, safe electromagnetic waves are used to locate and track the Beacons multiple times per second. This gives the radiation oncologist accurate, objective, real-time guidance about the location of the prostate. With this outstanding degree of pinpoint accuracy, effective doses of radiation can be delivered more safely than ever before.

For a referral to a urologist or radiation oncologist affiliated with Bridgeport Hospital, please call us toll free, 24/7, at 1-888-357-2396.

A member of the Yale-New Haven Cancer Network

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