Lowell General Hospital is one of only a few hospitals in New England offering most men, a prostate cancer diagnosis means weeks of daily radiation treatments and possible surgery. While each case is unique, for men with low-risk cancer that does not require surgery, Lowell General Hospital offers an expedited treatment plan using higher doses of radiation over a shorter period of time, a technique that has shown to be equally effective while providing added convenience for the patient. Using this procedure, called hypofractionation, Lowell General Hospital has successfully reduced treatment time from 9 weeks to 5½ weeks for several prostate cancer patients.
The procedure uses a gel, injected under anesthesia, that separates the prostate from the rectal wall. The gel provides two main advantages: it moves the rectal wall outside of the treatment area, while also providing the radiation oncologist a better view of the prostate on an MRI, allowing for more precise treatment. As a result, irritation of the rectal wall and urethra can be reduced, limiting the risk of irritation and complications like urgency or frequency of urination or bowel movements.