Radiation Treatment for Prostate Cancer
With this method, the radiation comes from a large machine outside the body. Men go to a hospital or clinic for treatment, usually five days a week for several weeks. Many men receive three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy. This method more closely targets the cancer and spares healthy tissue.
Internal Radiation (Implant Radiation or Brachytherapy)
With this treatment, the radiation comes from radioactive material usually contained in small seeds. The seeds are put into the tissue and give off radiation for months. The seeds are harmless and do not need to be removed.
Side effects of radiation treatment for prostate cancer depend mainly on the dose and type of radiation. You are likely to be tired during radiation therapy, especially in the later weeks. Resting is important, but doctors usually advise patients to try to stay as active as they can.
If you have external radiation treatment, you may have diarrhea or frequent and uncomfortable urination. Some men have lasting bowel or urinary problems. Your skin in the treated area may become red, dry, and tender. You may lose hair in the treated area, which may not grow back.
Internal radiation treatment may cause incontinence. However, this side effect usually goes away. Lasting side effects from this method are not common.
Both internal and external radiation can cause impotence. However, internal radiation is less likely to have this effect.