A prostate cancer diagnosis was not something Alex Lamb expected. An active retiree, he ran daily and was feeling healthy and strong. Like many men in the early stages of the disease, he had no symptoms. While some types of prostate cancer spread slowly and may not require treatment, Alex’s oncologist felt that his best option was radiation therapy - an approach that more than 60,000 American men use to treat prostate cancer every year1.
Though relieved to learn that radiation therapy is a highly effective treatment for prostate cancer, Alex had concerns about the potential debilitating side-effects of radiation treatment, including rectal pain, diarrhea, urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. “When I was told about radiotherapy, I thought, is there going to be a problem? Is it going to stop me from training? It was vitally important for me to get running again because that really is my whole life,” said Alex.
When treating cancer patients with radiation therapy, the goal is to kill the cancer cells while avoiding damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Since the prostate is next to the rectum, prostate radiation therapy can unintentionally damage the rectum and prostate nerves, potentially causing unwanted side effects.
Knowing that remaining active was important to Alex, his doctor recommended SpaceOAR™ Hydrogel, a pre-treatment option for men undergoing prostate cancer radiation therapy. The absorbable hydrogel creates a temporary space between the prostate and the rectum, protecting the rectum from radiation exposure. SpaceOAR Hydrogel can be injected during an outpatient procedure in a hospital, surgery center, outpatient clinic or doctor’s office under local anesthesia.
Following Alex’s SpaceOAR Hydrogel procedure, he reported, “By dinner time the same day I was home. Within two days, I was running again.” Today Alex is still running and hasn’t experienced any side effects related to his radiation therapy.
Watch Alex’s story:
Safety information about SpaceOAR Hydrogel can be found here.
1Treatment for Prostate Cancer: External-Beam Radiation Therapy. Prostate Cancer Foundation. https://www.pcf.org/c/treatment-for-prostate-cancer-external-beam-radiation-therapy/. Accessed February 13, 2019.