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SpaceOAR Hydrogel: An option for men with prostate cancer

August 24, 2022

Cancer General Surgery Urology
Doctor talking with patient in doctors office

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among men (second only to skin cancer). Fortunately, for the 191,000 men who will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020, it is often treatable.

“Advances in diagnosing, monitoring and treating prostate cancer are giving men more opportunity to stay healthy,” says Ostap Dovirak, M.D., urologist with Riverside Health System. “We’re proud to offer many of these advances right here at Riverside Health System, including a new approach to help minimize side effects from radiation treatment.”

Radiation therapy and prostate cancer

Your doctor will work closely with you to determine a treatment plan that’s right for you. If that includes radiation, you’ll learn more about the types of radiation therapy available and side effects of treatment. 

Riverside offers two different kinds of radiation therapy:

  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy
  • Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy

Radiation therapy works by sending targeted beams of high-energy rays or particles to kill cancer cells. While treatment is closely planned and targeted, it does sometimes expose nearby healthy tissue to radiation. 

The most commonly affected area in men receiving radiation for prostate cancer is the rectum. This can lead to side effects that interfere with daily life, including: 

  • Bowel leakage
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Diarrhea
  • Chronic discomfort and irritation
  • Fecal incontinence

A new advance is helping reduce that risk of side effects, and it’s now available at Riverside. 

SpaceOAR: Reducing side effects, improving quality of life

SpaceOAR Hydrogel works as a spacer between the rectum and the prostate, which helps lower the amount of radiation exposed to the rectum. It is injected between the rectum and the prostate before radiation treatment and is gradually absorbed by the body after therapy. 

Clinical trials have indicated that SpaceOAR can help significantly reduce the side effects men experience, including:

  • 66 percent of patients experienced fewer bowel issues that impacted quality of life (fecal incontinence, pain, bleeding, etc.)
  • It may also improve urinary and erectile function outcomes

“Your provider can share more information about SpaceOAR and if it’s right for you,” says Dr. Dovirak. “And know that whatever your treatment path includes, we’ll be here to help you live the life you want.”

Learn more about Riverside’s approach to prostate cancer care.

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