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Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer

If you are facing a prostate cancer diagnosis, the Ackerman Cancer Center team can help.

Targeting Prostate Cancer with Pinpoint Precision

Dedicated to the pursuit of innovative cancer therapies, Ackerman Cancer Center is proud to have earned the distinction of the first private treatment center in the world to offer proton therapy. With proton therapy, our physicians can prescribe powerful doses of radiation with greater control, resulting in quicker recovery times and reduced side effects for many cancers, including prostate cancer.

Why is Proton Therapy the Most Effective Type of Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer?

Prostate Cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, with 1 in 8 men being diagnosed in their lifetime. There are many screening and treatment options that greatly increase survival of prostate cancer, including Proton Therapy.

Proton therapy is the most precise form of radiation. Protons are charged particles that produce a significantly different dose distribution when compared to photon-based radiation therapy techniques, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).

Proton beam particles deliver a powerful dose of radiation to the precise site of the tumor, destroying cancerous cells while protecting healthy tissue, especially organs at risk.

Exposure to surrounding tissue is significantly reduced because unlike photon-based radiation, there is no exit dose beyond the target. Clinical research has shown that this translates to fewer side effects than seen with conventional radiation therapy, such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Proton therapy is sometimes used alone in cancer treatment, and may be also combined with surgery and/or chemotherapy.

Proton Therapy Benefits for Prostate Cancer Include:
  • Reduced radiation dose to organs at risk surrounding the prostate including the bladder, bowel, and rectum
  • Better tumor control, due to receiving a higher dose of radiation than with traditional radiation, ultimately reducing risk of cancer recurrence
  • Fewer side effects and complications, including urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Lower risk of radiation-induced second malignancies, specifically for gastrointestinal (GI) and genitourinary (GU) cancers
  • Quick timeline to treatment
  • Painless and non-invasive treatment

POWERFUL AND PRECISE: Our Proton Technology

The MEVION S250 system combines the most advanced proton therapy technology currently available into a compact, efficient treatment system featuring DirectDose™ beam modulating technology and Full Robotic Positioning for precise patient positioning. Our MEVION S250 unit produces 250 Mega-electronvolt (MeV) protons, giving it the ability to reach a tumor tucked deeper within the body than a large machine with protons of 230 MeV can.

PRECISE

The DirectDose™ beam modulating technology meticulously shapes and regulates the proton therapy beams, conforming them to the exact treatment plan. DirectDose™ precisely pinpoints even the most hard-to-reach tumors.

ACCURATE

The system offers Full Robotic Positioning to ensure precise patient placement. Our MEVION S250 unit has a robotic couch that can move the patient in six different dimensions: up, down, right, left, and side to side. The 6-degree robotic couch allows the patient to be positioned at the optimal treatment angle, targeting the tumor with sub-millimeter accuracy.

SAFE

Patient positioning is confirmed through the system’s 2D and 3D radiographic imaging system prior to each treatment session. No radiation is delivered until all necessary adjustments have been made and patient alignment is confirmed.

Proton Technology Therapy: IMRT

Prostate Imaging: IMRT

Prostate Imaging: Proton Technology

Prostate Imaging: Proton Technology

Proton Therapy: What to Expect

After confirming that proton therapy will be used to treat your case, physicians will explain hydrogel rectal spacing and its benefits. Rectal spacing gel significantly reduces rectal bleeding and severity of other side effects during and after prostate cancer treatment. If a patient does not want a hydrogel rectal spacing system, other options will be discussed.

Next, you are scanned using CT Sim and MRI. An MRI is not mandatory, but is highly recommended for maximum precision when our dosimetrists create your specialized treatment plan. These plans are evaluated by the physics staff and your physician, who will give the final approval.

You will then come back for a virtual simulation “dry run” and have an image taken to ensure the precise treatment site is accurately treated each time.

During treatment, CT scans may be ordered to ensure that the radiation is consistently shrinking the tumor as expected. These images are reviewed together with your physician.

Once treatment is finished, you enter survivorship. At this point your PSA levels are checked regularly to ensure the levels are dropping or remaining constant.

What is the main difference in Proton Therapy vs Photon Therapy for Prostate?

Proton Therapy delivers a more precise dose of radiation to the tumor site when compared to IMRT, which emits far more radiation to the body than usually necessary. The extra radiation exposure from IMRT impacts the healthy tissue around the tumor, which can increase side effects and even create secondary cancers later in life. With protons, clinical research has proven that secondary cancers are less likely to occur since there is less healthy tissue disrupted in the process.

Prostate Proton Therapy

Prostate Proton Therapy

Prostate Photon Therapy

Prostate Photon Therapy

Who will be a part of my treatment?

At Ackerman Cancer Center, we have staff trained in all areas of Radiation Therapy who are cheering you on.

Your radiation therapists will walk with you through treatments each day from start to finish. They are your main point of contact and can assist you in many ways.
Your oncology nurse practitioners are available to you through the entirety of treatment and after completion, as a resource for managing side-effects and any other health concerns.

Your physicians are always available to you and play a significant role in your treatment by monitoring each step- from ordering scans to reviewing treatment plans with you.

Behind the scenes, you will have a team of dosimetrists and physicists who are highly trained in creating the best treatment plan possible for your therapy. These team members consult with your physician and ensure effective and safe care is always delivered in a timely manner.

Does my insurance cover Proton Therapy?

Our priority is to get you on a path to treatment- quickly. Most insurances* understand the benefits of Proton Therapy for prostate cancer treatment — due to lower side effects and less risk of cancer recurrences. Our financial team will work with you and your insurance company to receive authorization for treatment.

*Humana Gold does not authorize Proton Therapy at this time.

How do I know the Proton Beams and Machines are safe for me?

We prioritize the safety and effectiveness of your treatment. Each morning, Ackerman Cancer Center’s physicists ensure our Proton machine produces the most precise beams possible. We call these “Quality Assurance Checks,” and they are never missed.

This verifies that radiation will be emitted to the exact areas your team has planned for and ensures that no beams will stray into other healthy tissues.

My doctor is recommending surgery for treatment. Why is Proton Therapy a better option?

Proton Therapy is non-invasive, allowing you to continue day-to-day activities with no recovery time necessary. Prostate cancer surgery (called a radical prostatectomy) requires 6-8 weeks of recovery before returning to normal activities.

Proton Therapy rids cancer cells that could be surrounding the tumor, whereas surgery removes only the tumor itself. Proton Therapy delivers a beam of particles that stops at the tumor site without an exit dose, saving any surrounding healthy tissue around the prostate.

What are the side effects of Proton Therapy for prostate treatment?
  • May experience burning with urination and increased frequency of urination
  • Possible fatigue
  • Disrupted bowel patterns
  • Alterations in sexual functions

We are here to assist with medications and any other means of managing side effects during and after treatment.

Do I need a physician referral for my first appointment?

No, you are able to schedule a consultation with us without a physician referral.

To do so, contact us at (904) 880-5522 or click here.

I’m traveling from out of town for my treatment. What are my options for housing and support?

We have a team of social workers and support from the Ackerman Cancer Foundation that is available to you for any support needs. Our social work team prioritizes our patients’ financial, mental, and physical needs during and after treatment.

Are there resources available to me for community support?

We offer Men Helping Men, a prostate support group for all men in the cancer community. Men Helping Men is an interactive prostate cancer support group that offers a welcoming environment to facilitate helpful conversation, education, and guidance.

Through Men Helping Men, our goal is to assist men with prostate cancer make informed treatment decisions, equip them with tools to ease treatment challenges, and promote a sense of genuine camaraderie and support throughout their prostate cancer journey. Men Helping Men is open to everyone in the prostate cancer community.

To learn more about how we can support you, please contact socialwork@ackermancancer.com.

To register for our next Men Helping Men in-person or virtual event click here.

Why should I come to see Ackerman Cancer Center rather than another facility?

Ackerman Cancer Center’s MEVION technology results in a reliable, precise machine. This machine ensures that all treatments are delivered safely and effectively. It creates a more robust cancer treatment plan that keeps our patients on track with their care when needed.

The entire Ackerman Cancer Center team is committed to providing the most efficient and most effective cancer care to each and every patient. We are a small, patient-centered private practice where you can count on 24/7 access to our physicians and same or next-day diagnostic imaging and test results.

You’ll find that our Board-Certified physicians, Board-Certified radiation physicists, oncology-certified nurses, certified medical dosimetrists, radiation therapists, and social workers work together to provide the highest-quality cancer care delivered with compassion and understanding.

Proton therapy is available at our Jacksonville facility, conveniently located near major highways, quality lodging, beaches, restaurants, and shopping. The facility offers easy-access parking and a pleasant, comfortable setting.

Research on Proton for Prostate Cancer

Proton Therapy Treatment for Prostate in Men 60 and Younger

Cancer, ACS Journals

This article presents the outcomes of a study on men age 60 or younger receiving proton therapy treatment for prostate cancer. The results showed excellent outcomes when reviewing their sexual health and overall quality of life.

Prostate Cancer Outcomes with Proton Therapy

International Journal of Radiation Oncology

This article reports the results of a study that provided clinical outcomes over the course of five years. The outcomes presented that, with the treatment of proton therapy, there was high efficacy, minimal toxicity, and ...

Get Started Today

The first step is scheduling a consultation. To set up a consultation, please call us at 904-880-5522. Setting up a consultation allows you to get your questions answered and take the first step in getting a comprehensive cancer care partner to support you on your financial, social, emotional, and physical journey.

Patient Stories

Meet Dennis, Prostate Cancer Survivor

At the heart of every single treatment delivered at Ackerman Cancer Center is a patient whose life has been affected by cancer. Meet Dennis. His story brings hope and encouragement to others battling this difficult disease. Listen as he shares his experience.

Meet R.B., Prostate Cancer Survivor

Listen as R.B., Prostate Cancer survivor, discusses his experiences, from cancer diagnosis to Proton Therapy treatment at Ackerman Cancer Center to survivorship, with Arthur Crofton of WEJZ.

Meet Velious, Prostate Cancer Survivor

“In fall 2014, my PSA level jumped to 14. I had a da Vinci prostatectomy, but my numbers began to climb again, so I was treated for Prostate Cancer with Proton Therapy at Ackerman Cancer Center. When I completed proton treatment, my PSA score was undetectable, below 1.0. The quality of treatment I received at Ackerman Cancer Center helped. It’s like a family here. It reflects in the way everybody treats the patients. Dr. Ackerman is always available. Any time you ask, he stops what he’s doing, and he’ll talk to you.”

Meet Ken, Prostate Cancer Survivor

“Excellent doctors. Excellent equipment. Excellent staff.”

Meet James, Prostate Cancer Survivor

“I finished Proton Radiation Therapy treatments in July 2015. The treatments couldn’t have gone better. The entire staff at Ackerman Cancer Center was very professional and very caring. I interacted with many people at the Center. From the office workers, to the nurses, social workers, dietitians, technicians, and doctors—I was always treated with positive attitudes and the feeling that everyone was working just for me. I am very grateful to the Ackerman Cancer Center for my treatment and excellent care. I do not believe that I could have received any better treatment and care anywhere in the world.”

Meet Angelo, Prostate Cancer Survivor

“I can honestly say that I have never been shown [this level of] compassion and care at any medical facility I have ever been to. The entire staff displayed a true feeling of caring for their patients. They made me feel like family!”

Treatments

Your oncology team will help you determine which treatment method will produce the best results for your type of prostate cancer. At Ackerman, you will have access to some of the most advanced prostate cancer-fighting technology currently available.

Ackerman Cancer Center’s state-of-the-art prostate treatment options include:

  • Proton Therapy

    Proton therapy is one of the most precise, advanced radiation treatment modalities available today. In traditional photon radiation, the X-ray beams travel through the tumor, destroying both cancerous and healthy tissue along the way. Proton therapy provides a more efficient solution by utilizing charged particles (protons) to penetrate the tissue and deposit nearly all of their energy directly at the tumor site, thereby reducing damage to surrounding areas.

    Ackerman Cancer Center is proud to be the world’s first private practice offering its own proton beam technology. Though proton therapy is not right for every patient, the radiation oncologists at Ackerman Cancer Center will consider all options when developing your personalized treatment plan.

    Learn more about proton therapy

  • Brachytherapy

    Brachytherapy is a type of internal radiation therapy that delivers a higher dose of radiation directly to the tumor, the area near it, or the site following tumor removal. This approach helps protect surrounding healthy tissue. Ackerman Cancer Center performs brachytherapy treatments such as prostate seed implants, APBI, and Valencia® for skin cancer.

  • Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

    IMRT uses beams of radiation from multiple angles, and of varying intensities, to conform to the shape of the tumor. IGRT utilizes 3-D images to monitor the tumor’s exact location during treatment. These technologies work together to reduce exposure to healthy tissues and minimize side effects of treatment.

  • Prostate Seed Implants

    Prostate seed implants are a type of internal radiation therapy, also known as brachytherapy. A doctor or clinician implants radioactive seeds (containing either iodine-125 or palladium-103) into specific parts of the prostate gland using ultrasound guidance. The number of seeds and where they are placed is determined by a treatment plan tailored for each patient. Anywhere from 40 to 160 seeds are commonly implanted.

    The implants remain in place permanently, and the radioactivity of the seeds slowly decays over several weeks to months. This technique allows a high dose of radiation to be delivered to the prostate with limited exposure to nearby organs.

  • Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT)

    VMAT is a technique that precisely delivers radiation therapy to tumors. Single or multiple beams sweep in an uninterrupted arc(s) around the patient, while our expert radiation oncologists utilize 3-D imaging to monitor the tumor during treatment. This method reduces exposure to healthy tissues while increasing the radiation dose to the tumor.

  • Xofigo®

    Xofigo® is a radiation treatment that can help extend the lives of men with advanced forms of prostate cancer. It is an intravenous injection with a typical course of treatment administered over six months. Studies have shown Xofigo® not only increases the length of survival, but may also improve quality of life by reducing side effects like bone pain.