New technology reduces risk of side effects from radiation in the treatment of prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in Singapore. The conventional radiation treatment for prostate cancer has a risk of injuring the rectum due to the close proximity of the rectum to the prostate. This can lead to bleeding in the stools, irritation to the rectum, and in some rare cases, rectal cancer.
Fortunately, there is a new technology called rectal spacers available that works as a physical barrier or physical space between the prostate and rectum thereby reducing the radiation effects to the rectum minimizing the side effects. The spacer is made of an absorbable soft gel that lasts for up to 6 months in the body before it dissolves. The gel is injected through the perineum which is the area between the anus and the scrotum.
The insertion of the spacer can be done as a quick outpatient procedure in the clinic which takes 10-15 minutes under sedation or local anesthesia with minimal side effects.

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