Technologic advances in radiation treatment planning and delivery have generated popular interest in the different radiation therapy techniques used in treating patients with localized prostate cancer. Throughout the past decade, high-energy (> 4 MV) linear accelerators have largely replaced Cobalt machines in external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) delivery. Conventional EBRT has been used to treat prostate cancer successfully since the 1950s. By switching to computed tomography-based planning, three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy provides better relative conformality of dose than does conventional EBRT. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has further refined dose conformality by spreading the low-dose region to a larger volume. However, the potential long-term risks of larger volumes of normal tissues receiving low doses of radiation in IMRT are unknown. Particle-beam radiation therapy offers unique dose distributions and characteristics with higher relative biologic effect and linear energy transfer. Transperineal prostate brachytherapy offers the shortest treatment time with equivalent efficacy without significant risk of radiation exposure. The addition of hormonal therapy to radiation therapy has been shown to improve the outcome of radiation therapy.
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