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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the PSA level reflect how bad my cancer is?

Previously most doctors felt that if a PSA level was below 4.0 there was little likelihood of prostate cancer being present. In one large study, however, prostate cancer was diagnosed in 15.2 percent of men with a PSA level at or below 4.0. Fifteen percent of these men, or approximately 2.3 percent overall, had high-grade cancers. In another study, 25 to 35 percent of men who had a PSA level between 4.1 and 9.9 ng/mL and who underwent a prostate biopsy were found to have prostate cancer, meaning that 65 to 75 percent of the remaining men did not have prostate cancer.

In general, the higher a PSA is, the higher the chance of having prostate cancer. The PSA is not an indicator of severity of the cancer.

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If I receive radiation therapy, can I have surgery at a later date?

It is not a common practice to preform prostate surgery after radiation. There are several centers in the United States that do this, but it is very rare.

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Are there any supplements I can take to make the cancer better?

The cancer cannot be cured by vitamins or supplements. We advise you take a multivitamin during the radiation treatment.

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Do I need to take precautions around children and other people?

There are several restrictions only if you have permanent seed implantation. There are limits to the amount of time you may hold small children on your lap during the first year after insertion of the seeds. We also advise you remain an arm length away from a pregnant woman at this time. There are no special precautions with external beam radiation.

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Is there a special diet I should follow?

We advise you eat a balanced diet. Occasionally, you may encounter minor problems with loose stool or constipation. The nurse will offer assistance should either one of these occur.

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Can I drive to and from my treatments?

There are no restrictions on driving. If you feel comfortable driving, there is no reason you can’t continue to do so. We advise very few restrictions during your treatment and encourage you to continue your normal lifestyle.

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Why does my bladder need to be full when I come for a treatment?

The bladder is positioned directly on top of the prostate. When the bladder is empty, it lies collapsed covering the prostate. If your bladder is full, it naturally rises up and is away from the prostate. This allows the radiation beam to be directed at your prostate, avoiding the bladder as much as possible.

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What happens if I miss a day of treatment?

We do not expect you to miss important events in your life. If it is necessary to miss a treatment or two, we will simply add them on at the end of your sessions. You will have the same total number of treatments. Missing several treatments will not affect the outcome.

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Can I have Calypso localization and then have permanent seeds?

Occasionally there is a need for both types of radiation to be used together. However, we cannot insert the Calypso beacons and later insert the permanent seeds.

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Are there any reasons I would not be able to have Calypso beacons inserted to assist in my radiation?

If you have any metal implants in your pelvis or hips, the use of Calypso is contraindicated. This would include having a total hip replacement or a previous fracture of the hip or upper leg. If you have a pacemaker or defibrillator there are warnings that you may not be able to use this system. This would be clarified by your radiation oncologist.

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Does having a vasectomy make me more likely to get prostate cancer?

There is no conclusive evidence that having a vasectomy increases the risk of getting prostate cancer.

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Am I able to have intercourse during radiation treatment?

There is no medical contraindication for this. It is important to use some type of contraception if you partner is of childbearing capacity.

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