According to Doximity, a social networking site for U.S. physicians, one of the most widely read stories among radiation oncologists this year is one announcing a discovery by radiation oncologist Timothy Showalter, MD, of UVA Cancer Center. The ScienceDaily article, “Sweeping Prostate Cancer Review Upends Widely Held View on Radiation,” discusses two studies from the UVA School of Medicine that challenged the belief that it’s best to delay radiation treatment as long as possible after the removal of the prostate in order to prevent unwanted side effects.
“The common teaching has been, without clear evidence, that urinary incontinence and erectile function are worse when radiation is delivered earlier rather than later, but we didn’t see any protective effect of delayed radiation compared to earlier radiation,” says Showalter. “It contradicts the clinical principle of delaying radiation as long as possible for the sake of the patient’s side effects. It really speaks against that, and that ought not to be used for a reason to delay radiation.”