ROKS: Minimizing the side effects of radiation therapy on prostate cancer patients
The treatment of cancer with radiation therapy can sometimes result in undesirable side effects that reduce a patient’s quality of life. While treatment teams try to minimize the likelihood of these side effects occurring by carefully designing treatment plans to minimize the radiation dose to sensitive tissues, this sparing is not always successful. This is particularly true for prostate cancer patients, as the prostate and rectum move around during the course of treatment and may cause the rectum to receive a different dose from what was planned. This not only impacts the likelihood of an individual developing side effects, but also makes modelling of side effect probability more challenging as the delivered dose is not always the same as what was planned. Our research team is developing different techniques to calculate the delivered dose accumulated in the rectum over the course of treatment. Using these techniques, we plan to investigate the relationship between delivered dose and side effects and better guide treatment practices going forwards.