Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia say patients having intensity modulated radiation therapy have fewer gastrointestinal complications versus patients treated with conventional three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy.
Intensity modulated radiation therapy is a specialized form of three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy -- external beam radiation therapy where radiation can be directed to the tumor and limiting radiation received by healthy tissue limited.
"With survivors living many years after treatment, it is very important to minimize gastrointestinal and urinary side effects to allow patients to live a full life after treatment," Dr. Justin Bekelman, the lead author, says in a statement.
"Our study shows there is a benefit for men with prostate cancer to receive intensity modulated radiation therapy over conventional treatment in terms of gastrointestinal side effects. But there is no difference between the two treatments in terms of urinary side effects."
Bekelman and colleagues used Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results-Medicare data to compare the gastrointestinal and urinary complications within two years of treatment of men age 65 and older with prostate cancer.
The findings are scheduled to be presented in San Diego at 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.
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