High-Volume Radiation Centers Have Better Outcomes for Prostate Cancer Patients

Posted by RadiationClinic on October 20th, 2016

Some of the estimated 180,000 American men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the coming year will find their doctors recommending radiation treatments. This commonly used treatment is often employed along with surgery to ensure that all prostate cancer cells are eliminated. The goal is to effectively kill off cancer cells to increase survival changes. While not indicated in every case of prostate cancer, radiation can be an extremely important part of an overall treatment recommendation.

Long considered a highly effective form of treatment, radiation isn’t always perfect. Researchers are finding, in fact, that outcomes in regard to survival rate tend to be better in high-volume centers where clinicians have a lot of experience due to sheer number of patients.

To arrive at that conclusion, researchers analyzed nearly 20,000 cases recorded in the National Cancer database. The cases involved men with non-metastatic prostate cancer that was considered high-risk. Patients in the study group had received either external beam radiation therapy and/or seed therapy (brachytherapy) during the period between 2004 and 2006. The results ultimately showed that survival rates for patients improved by about 3 percent for every 100 patients a center treated with radiation. That essentially means that centers with a higher volume of patients tended to produce better long-term results than those with lower volumes.

Call the “high-volume effect,” this occurrence has also been noted in relation to prostate cancer surgery and in the treatment of other types of cancer. In regard to prostate cancer radiation treatment, researchers pointed to a few possible reasons why survival outcomes might be better at high-volume centers. They include:

  • The quality of treatment might be higher at high-volume centers
  • Health care staff may have more experience in selecting the right targets for radiation treatment
  • Staff may be more comfortable in using higher doses of radiation to more effectively kill off cancer cells
  • Higher volume centers may have experts representing multiple disciplines on site, which would allow for higher collaboration and overall consistency of care

While the findings seem to indicate better care is available at higher volume centers, researchers did note other explanations may exist. Higher volume facilities, for example, might treat a higher rate of healthier patients, which would also improve outcome.

Men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are urged to talk about all treatment options with their healthcare providers. Radiation, which indicated, can greatly enhance survival chances regardless of a facility’s patient volume.

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At Las Colinas Cancer Center, a Choice Cancer Care Treatment Center, our team is committed to providing the personalized, compassionate treatment that can make all the difference in cancer care. 

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