Men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer may find that radiation therapy is highly recommended to help treat the disease. This targeted treatment is designed to shrink tumors and kill off cancer cells. It may also help doctors ensure that any stray cells left behind after a procedure, such as a prostatectomy, are adequately addressed. The conventional course of radiation treatment, however, typically involves a large number of visits over more than eight weeks.

Researchers have found that a slightly more compact round of 5.6 weeks, involving fewer treatments, and a modified dosing of radiation can procedure similar results. The outcome of a recent trial, in his third phased, showed comparable survival rates and toxicity rates. The numbers in regard to potential for recurrence were also rather close. The findings offer hope that it might be possible to effectively treat the disease in a shorter, more compact time frame. This, in turn, would enable men to get on the road to recovery sooner.

An estimated 200,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. This disease, when caught early, is often highly treatable. While taking a wait-and-see approach without any intervention is recommended in low-risk cases, men who find their tumors are more aggressive or higher risk may learn that surgery and radiation offer them the best chance for a positive prognosis. The best course of action in a man’s particular case will depend on the cancer itself. Staging, tumor size and aggressiveness of the disease all play roles in determining the best possible treatment.

All men are urged to discuss prostate cancer, its risks and early screening with their healthcare providers. Routine screens should begin around the age of 50 for men considered at low to average risk for the disease. Screening may begin sooner for men deemed at higher risk for the development of prostate cancer.