Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in males in Singapore from 2015 to 2019. According to Singapore National Cancer Registry Annual Report 2015-2019, prostate cancer accounts for 15.4% of cancer cases in males. Radiation therapy is one of the options available for prostate cancer treatment in Singapore. In this article, we take a close look at External Beam Radiation Therapy, which is one of the forms of radiation therapy.
What Is External Beam Radiation Therapy?
External Beam Radiation Therapy is one of the most common types of radiation treatment for cancer in Singapore. External Beam Radiation Therapy requires the use of high-energy beams like X-rays, gamma rays or photons to kill cancer cells.
The way External Beam Radiation Therapy works is by destroying the genetic material in cancer cells. This prevents the cancer cells from reproducing and causes them to die. The goal of this treatment is to destroy as many cancer cells as they can while minimising damage to healthy cells. However, healthy cells near the site of treatment can also be affected by the radiation during the treatment, resulting in adverse side effects.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) Prostate Cancer Treatment in Singapore
IMRT is the most frequently used type of External Beam Radiation Therapy. It is a high-precision radiotherapy method that uses computers to control the delivery of precise radiation doses to a tumour or even to specific areas within a tumour.
IMRT allows the delivery of radiation doses to be focused on the tumour while minimizing the dose to surrounding normal cells. The oncologist plans the treatment by using 3-D CT or MRI images of the patient together with computerised dose calculations to ascertain the optimal dose intensity pattern for conforming to the tumour shape. Combinations of multiple intensity-modulated beams delivered from different directions produce customised radiation doses that maximises radiation dosage to the tumour while at the same time minimising dosage to nearby normal cells.
The ability to target tumour cells while reducing the impact to nearby cells is advantageous. This is because with IMRT, oncologists can deliver higher and more effective radiation doses safely to the tumour with less side effects compared with conventional radiotherapy methods. On the other hand, as IMRT is a more complex procedure, it requires longer daily treatment times and also more planning and safety checks compared with conventional radiotherapy.
When Would You Need External Beam Radiation Therapy?
Prostate cancer treatment in Singapore may involve a combination of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and even surgery. All of these different treatments have their particular purposes. During your prostate cancer treatment, your doctor may recommend you to receive external beam radiation treatment under circumstances such as:
- As the only main treatment for cancer, commonly during early-stage of prostate cancer
- Alongside other types of treatment, for more serious cancer stage
- To reduce the risk of the cancer cells returning after surgery
- After surgery when there are signs that your cancer cells have reoccurred
External Beam Radiation Prostate Cancer Treatment – Side Effects
There are several risks and side effects that you might experience during your prostate cancer treatment. Each person’s reaction to the treatments is different, and you either may experience these side effects or not. Some of the side effects that you might face are:
- Sore skin around the treatment area
- Loss of hair in the private area
- Difficulty during urination
- Reduced blood counts
- Skin irritation
- Sexual dysfunction
Preparation For External Beam Radiation Therapy
Before you receive your external beam radiation treatment, your radiation and health care team will guide you through the preparation process. They will come up with a plan to ensure that the radiation will reach the exact spot in your body where the cells are located. The planning process usually includes:
- Radiation simulation: This process is when your radiation team will work together with you, to find a comfortable position for you during your treatment sessions later. This is because you need to stay still when you receive radiation treatment.
- Planning scans: This procedure is when your radiation therapy team, performs an imaging scan on you to decide the precise area of your body that need the radiation treatment.
Cost of Cancer Treatment
Treating advanced cancer in Singapore may cost $100,000 – $200,000 or more per year. If the potential cost of prostate cancer treatment is something that you find concerning, consider protecting yourself with cancer insurance plans in addition to your MediShield Life, Integrated Shield, and critical illness plans. Experienced financial advisors can help you optimise your insurance portfolio.
Oncologist / Urologist for Prostate Cancer Treatment in Singapore
If you are looking for an oncologist or urologist in Singapore for prostate cancer treatment, here are some that you can consider.
|Dr Akhil Chopra||OncoCare Cancer Centre @ Orchard||He has special interest in treating multiple cancer types including lung cancer, breast cancer, cancers of stomach, colon, rectum, liver, prostate, kidney, testicular and the bladder, gynaecological cancers such as ovarian and uterine/cervical cancers; as well as lymphomas and chronic leukaemia’s/multiple myeloma.|
|Dr Liew Choon How Lewis||Lewis Liew Urology||Dr. Liew is a urologist who specialises in prostate cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, robotic & laparoscopic surgery, kidney stone surgery, kidney transplant, hernia surgery.|
|Dr Lincoln Tan||Tan Urology||Dr Tan provides services related to uro-oncology (kidney cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancers and penile cancer).|
|Dr. Colin Teo||Colin Teo Urology||Dr. Teo specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of urinary stone diseases and urological cancers, shockwave treatments, endoscopic laser equipment, robotic surgery, etc.|
|Dr Wong Siew Wei||Parkway Cancer Centre||Dr Wong’s areas of expertise and interest are in prostate, kidney, bladder, upper gastrointestinal and lung cancers.|
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.