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Fewer prostate cancer treatments are safer

DALLAS, June 2 (UPI) -- Higher doses of radiation received less frequently are safe and effective for men with low-to-intermediate-risk prostate cancer, U.S. researchers say.

Senior author Dr. Robert Timmerman, vice chairman of radiation oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and colleagues found stereotactic body radiation therapy, which delivers ultra-precise radiation, was effective in treating patients with localized prostate cancer in five 30-minute sessions every other day during two weeks.

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Typical radiation treatment for similar prostate cancer patients involved 42 to 45 daily treatments administered over an eight- to nine-week period, Timmerman said.

"We were trying to develop a fast, convenient, outpatient, non-invasive treatment," Timmerman said in a statement. "In the low-risk population, there are a lot of good options, but none of them are altogether convenient. The most convenient treatment would finish quickly without the need for a prolonged recovery."

To avoid injury to healthy tissue, the researchers used beams of radiation just millimeters larger than the target itself and this precision helped avoid typical prostate cancer side effects including rectal injury, impotence and difficulty urinating.

The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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