Radiation Side Effects


Prostate cancer is most common in men aged 65 and older, although younger men can also be diagnosed. By age 80, more than half of all men have cancer in their prostate.

Globally, prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer. It is the fifth-leading cause of cancer-related death in men. In 2020, it was diagnosed in 1.4 million and caused 360,000 deaths[1]. It was the most common cancer in males in 84 countries, occurring more commonly in the developed world, but rates have been increasing in the developing world as well.

Radiation Therapy (EBRT, IMRT, SBRT, Brachytherapy, proton therapy) is the treatment of choice for patients with localized prostate cancer. It is highly effective in killing prostate cancer cells. Still, a potential side effect is a damage to healthy tissue due to the proximity of the treated organs to neighboring organs. GI toxicity is associated with short-term or chronic symptoms.

Short-term radiotherapy effects can include rectal discomfort, diarrhea, bleeding, tiredness, or inflammation of the bladder lining, which can cause painful urination and frequent urination (cystitis).

Possible long-term side effects of radiotherapy can include an inability to get an erection and chronic bleeding.

Recent technological advancements have led to modern radiation therapies such as Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), and proton therapy, improving treatment accuracy and effectiveness. However, the challenge of protecting healthy organs and healthy tissues remains even with the most advanced tools. Normal tissue is still frequently exposed to high radiation doses.

The bottom line: GI toxicity occurs in up to 35% of radiation-treated prostate cancer patients.



The higher the dose, the more effective the treatment, but…

Novel radiotherapy modalities such as hypofractionation reduce daily fractions (from 40 to less than 20) while increasing daily doses. Clinical studies have shown that dose escalation can limit cancer recurrence and improve overall treatment success[2]. However, an increase in daily dose can cause even more extensive damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

With the BioProtect Balloon Implant™ System, safe dose escalation and hypofractionation may be safer!

When using a higher radiation dose, the need for a separator that shifts healthy tissue away from harmful radiation is paramount. The BioProtect Balloon Implant™ System spacer, a biodegradable balloon implant, potentially may enable dose escalation and hypofractionation while reducing complications.

[1] GLOBOCAN 2020 estimation

[2] SBRT for Localized Prostate Cancer: Is it Ready for Take-Off? Mitin et al. Int J Radiation Oncol Biol Phys, Vol. 105, No. 3, pp. 618e620, 2019

Long-term Outcomes of Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy for Low-Risk and Intermediate-Risk Prostate Cancer. Kishan et al. JAMA Network Open. 2019;2(2)