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New Device Optimizes Targeting of Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer

Radiation oncologists and prostate health specialists at South Nassau Communities Hospital’s Center for Prostate Health are using a new device that helps target the radiation dose delivered to the prostate and further reduces radiation exposure to surrounding tissues.

The device, a temporary, implantable balloon prostate immobilizer, “increases the effectiveness of leading-edge, external beam radiation technologies such as Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) by preventing the prostate from moving at the time radiation is delivered to the cancer,” said Edward E. Mullen, Jr., MD, director of radiation oncology.

Numerous studies demonstrate that even after the patient has been positioned and secured externally, the prostate can move internally up to ½-inch before the patient is treated. This internal prostate movement (which is factored into the treatment plan) is a key challenge to ensuring the precision of the radiation treatment.

South Nassau’s radiation oncologists and prostate cancer specialists use an array of technologies that help target the prostate and monitor its internal movement prior to a treatment session. This includes a 3-D treatment planning system that integrates and maximizes the capabilities of advanced computer technology, electronic portal imaging and cone-beam CT imaging. However, these technologies cannot limit the movement of the prostate. The implantable immobilizer is used most frequently for patients who need radiation therapy after having prostate cancer surgery. It ensures that the prostate remains in a predictable and reproducible location throughout the treatment, increasing precision and allowing for smaller treatment margins around the prostate.

Cancer of the prostate is a common and serious health concern. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2008 more than 186,000 men in the US were diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is the most common form of cancer of men over age 50, and the second leading cause of death from cancer. South Nassau’s Center for Prostate Health provides individualized treatment plans for its patients and specializes in prostate brachytherapy, radiation therapy, external beam radiation, hormone therapy and watchful waiting. It also provides comprehensive education and counseling for patients and their primary physicians in prostate cancer treatment. For more information, call 1-877-SouthNassau or visit

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