Who Receives Salvage Radiation Therapy, And If I Had Prostate Surgery Can I Get Radiation?

Matthew Cooney, M.D., University Hospitals

ByMatthew Cooney, M.D., Assistant Prof., Case Western Reserve Univ.; Oncologist, University Hospitals
November 19, 2008, 12:19 PM

Jan. 01, 2009 -- Question: Who receives salvage radiation therapy, and if I had prostate surgery can I get radiation?

Answer: You may be a candidate for salvage radiation -- or radiation after surgery -- for several reasons. The first is if your cancer is what we consider high-grade or has high-risk features. This could include a Gleason score -- the lowest being two and the highest being ten -- if your Gleason score is 8-10. Or if you have a high PSA -- a blood test that your doctor measures your prostate cancer with. If your PSA is above 20 or has other high-grade features you may be considered for radiation after your surgery.

The other group of patients that do go on to receive radiation, and you may be one of them after surgery, is if your PSA does not completely go to normal, or zero. If you have PSA elevation after surgery, you and your doctor may decide to do what we call adjuvant radiation.

What we do know about adjuvant radiation, the earlier the better in regards to your PSA. If your PSA is less than one, you have a much better chance of cure with adjuvant radiation than if your PSA is higher.

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