Did you know that prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men?
Radiation therapy is among the most effective and common forms of treatment for prostate cancer. Unfortunately, radiation therapy can sometimes come with undesirable side effects due to the prostate’s close proximity to other delicate tissues. However, Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute is a national education center for an advanced technology that gives prostates a little ‘space’.
Gibbs was the first place in North or South Carolina, and one of the first cancer centers in the United States, to utilize a new tool for prostate cancer called the SpaceOAR® System. SpaceOAR is the first FDA-approved procedure for placing a ‘spacer’ to protect the rectum of men undergoing prostate cancer radiation.
Daniel Fried, MD, PhD, medical director and radiation oncologist at Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute - Pelham, was the first trained and certified physician in the Carolinas to use SpaceOAR.
"Rectal radiation exposure limits our ability to deliver high doses of radiation to the prostate,” Dr. Fried said. “The SpaceOAR System substantially reduces that obstacle, allowing us to deliver higher doses of radiation to more safely and effectively treat the cancer.”
As a result of Dr. Fried’s SpaceOAR experience and expertise, Gibbs was the first SpaceOAR National Education & Resource Center in the United States. As a national education site for SpaceOAR, physicians from across the U.S. visit Dr. Fried and his staff at Gibbs to gain comprehensive knowledge, instruction, and expertise about utilizing SpaceOAR to ‘create a little space’ for their prostate cancer patients.
The ultimate goal of any type of radiation therapy is to maximize radiation to the tumor while avoiding or minimizing radiation to surrounding normal tissue. The prostate and rectum are located very close together, so the rectum can be at risk for radiation exposure during prostate cancer radiation treatment. Adverse effects can include diarrhea, inability to control bowel movements and rectal bleeding.
SpaceOAR consists of a water-based gel that is injected into the space between the prostate and the rectum as a liquid. It quickly expands and solidifies into a soft gel, creating a spacer that painlessly and temporarily moves the prostate away from the rectum. This allows direct delivery of radiation to the prostate while reducing the radiation dose to the rectal area.
The simple procedure is done in an operating room at the same time radiation markers are placed in the prostate. The gel spacer eventually liquefies and is eliminated from the body in the patient’s urine. Most patients report that they have little or no discomfort from the procedure, and cannot feel the spacer at all.
“We are extremely proud to be the first facility in the United States to be designated as a SpaceOAR National Education & Resource Center.” said Dr. Fried. “Gibbs was the first facility in the Carolinas to use the innovative SpaceOAR technology to improve outcomes for prostate cancer radiation patients, and now we are lending our knowledge and expertise on a national level to other physicians and cancer facilities. I think this vividly illustrates the Gibbs Cancer Center’s commitment to pioneering the most advanced cancer fighting technologies for our patients here at home, regionally and nationally.”
Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute is devoted to providing their patients with the latest cancer fighting innovations, and for many prostate cancer patients a little space goes a long way toward helping them through their treatment.
If you, or someone you know, would like more information about how SpaceOAR is used for prostate cancer radiation therapy, call 864-530-6400.