Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Ribbon

Regional Cancer Center provides a comprehensive approach to the evaluation and treatment of patients with prostate cancer. Collaboration between radiation oncologists and urologists at UPMC Hamot and Saint Vincent Health Center helps to provide patients a multidisciplinary perspective on their diagnosis and treatment options. The treatment chosen depends on the particular stage of cancer, health of the patient and his personal preference.

Board certified radiation oncologists direct the external beam, prostate seed implantation and hormonal therapy modalities. Experienced medical physicists, certified registered radiation therapists, dosimetrists, and oncology nurses round out the treatment team.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy for prostate cancer includes both external beam therapy and radioactive seed implantation. All prostate cancer patients at The RCC receiving external beam therapy receive IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy). Prostate cancer patients are treated daily for an average of 44 treatments of IMRT over 8 – 9 weeks. Patients can expect to spend 20 – 25 minutes each day at the treatment appointment.

Prostate Seed Implants

Radiation oncologists and urologists collaborate on the implantation of radioactive seeds for prostate cancer, also called brachytherapy. Radioactive seeds emit low energy X-rays which destroy the cancer in the prostate. 90% of the seed radioactivity is emitted within months, and the seeds themselves do not cause any reaction inside the body. 

The radioactive seeds are about the size of a caraway seed. The exact number of seeds implanted depends on the size of the prostate gland. Typically 60 -100 seeds are placed. Even though the cancer may only be detected in a portion of the prostate gland, there may be small amounts of cancer throughout the gland. For this reason, the entire gland is treated.

Careful treatment planning involving a multidisciplinary team is conducted prior to implantation.

Services Provided by UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

The vast majority of cancer diagnostic and treatment modalities being offered today are available at Regional Cancer Center. For the few types of treatments not provided, the physicians at RCC will coordinate a treatment plan with specialists at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, one of the top academic cancer programs in the country. Effective management of more unusual cancers and coordination of any subspecialty care that may need to be provided in Pittsburgh is enhanced by close working relationships between our organizations. Our shared goal is making these instances as seamless as possible for patients, while providing as much care as possible close to home. Talk with your doctor at RCC to understand if such services may have a role in your care plan.