Holger L. Gieschen, MD, assistant professor, Department of Radiology, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, radiation oncologist, West Cancer Center, discusses patient selection for radiation in the treatment of prostate cancer.

There are several patients who are considered eligible to receive radiation therapy, Gieschen says. Patients ranging from low-risk to high-risk disease can be treated with radiation, but there are competing modalities in this space, such as prostatectomy. Although high-risk patients are usually treated with surgery, Gieschen notes that these patients can also benefit from radiation treatment.

In the definitive setting, the goal of radiation therapy is to shrink the cancer as much as possible and potentially cure the patient, whereas in the palliative setting, this approach is used to stabilize prostate-specific antigen levels that naturally rise after surgery.

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