|ASK THE EXPERTS: GPS for the Prostate |
ASK THE EXPERTS: GPS for the Prostate
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