Leading-edge prostate cancer treatment
Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) is a specialist technique that can treat tumours safely and effectively, with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
We offer SABR for men with low- to intermediate-risk localised prostate cancer and some selected high-risk cases in just five sessions over five alternate days – instead of the conventional 20 or 39 sessions over many weeks. This is known as five-fraction SABR or 5# SABR, and is delivered by a team of leading experts using our state-of-the-art linacs (radiotherapy machines) at our outpatient centres in Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham, Maidstone, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Elstree, London and Oxford.
Our patients are at the heart of what we do, and we work with teams of leading cancer experts to introduce the latest evidence-based treatments from around the world that have been proven to make a difference. We have introduced this approach after carefully reviewing clinical research that shows this approach doesn’t increase short-term side effects when compared with the longer 20 or 39 session radiotherapy schedules.
Where can I get five-fraction SABR?
We offer this advanced treatment at our centres in Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham, Maidstone, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Elstree, London and Oxford. Contact us today to find out if five-fraction SABR is right for you.
What does SABR involve?
Your treatment will involve an initial appointment with your consultant, who has the appropriate experience, either in person or via a secure video consultation. You’ll then need to attend one of our SABR centres for a radiotherapy planning scan, which is used to plan the treatment delivery.
You may be required to have a rectal spacer inserted to help protect the surrounding healthy tissue and reduce side effects from prostate radiotherapy. You may also need to have fiducial markers inserted during the same one-off insertion procedure. These are tiny gold markers, the size of a grain of rice, that show up clearly on your planning scans, helping your consultant deliver your radiotherapy with greater accuracy.
Is it for me?
This treatment is for men with localised prostate cancer that is low- or intermediate-risk and if your cancer hasn’t spread to other nearby tissues or organs, such as the bladder or pelvic wall, or anywhere else in your body.
SABR can also be used if you've previously undergone external beam radiotherapy for prostate cancer and have relapsed with the disease in the prostate only. This is known as prostate cancer reirradiation.
Your GenesisCare Consultant Oncologist will discuss your diagnosis, treatments to date and overall health with a multidisciplinary team of SABR and MRIdian specialists. Together, they’ll decide if this treatment is right for you. Your consultant will explain the treatment plan to you, including any side effects you might experience and the outcome we can expect to achieve. You’ll have time to ask questions before you decide whether you want to proceed.
What about side effects?
As with any cancer treatment, you may experience side effects. Your consultant will discuss with you which of these are more likely to affect you.
Short-term side effects
You may experience the following during your treatment course, but they will usually disappear within three to four weeks:
- Pain on passing urine
- Needing to pass urine urgently
- Loose and frequent bowel movements
- Feeling tired
Long-term side effects
These may last years and include difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. Rarely, you may experience narrowing of the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of your body, making it difficult to pass urine or persistent bleeding from your back passage.
Your care team can advise you on the best way to deal with side effects and will be available during and after treatment should you have any questions. It’s important that you attend your follow-up appointments so we can identify and treat any problems as soon as possible.
As individuals, we all experience side effects differently. Take rest when you feel you need to and, when possible, try to continue with your daily exercise or any work that you’re currently doing.