A large number of prostate cancer patients are irradiated. In the past few years, techniques have been greatly improved to cause less damage to surrounding tissue and organs. However, still some patients can suffer from long-term side effects such as incontinence of urine and faeces. Therefore, when making radiation plans, we are continuously looking for the optimal treatment to eliminate side effects.
With hypofractionation, a higher fraction of the radiation dose is given, this means that the total physical dose is lower and the total treatment time shorter than with normal fractionated radiation. This helps to reduce the number of radiation treatments and to shorten the treatment time. These are important advantages for both the patient and the hospital. However, currently little is known about how to optimize the radiation plan. The current prediction models, that are used to determine the optimal individual treatment, are still based on conventional radiation, not on hypofractionated radiation.
Therefore, Wilma Heemsbergen and her team want to collect large-scale data from patients treated with hypofractionated radiation and use this information to develop new prediction models.They will look at side effects that are reported by the patient and by the clinician, both during treatment and the years after. In order for future patients to receive the best possible treatment plan.