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Radiation Treatment and Erectile Dysfunction

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Posted 10/13/2014

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Radiation treatment for cancer has several side effects. For prostate cancer, one of the common side effects is erectile dysfunction. The precision targeting used with The Nebraska Medical Center's Calypso system may reduce that side effect. Because it targets the prostate gland so precisely, Calypso may spare other parts of the body from absorbing the radiation.

Here's how it works: when Calypso detects transponder motion, or the tumor target becomes improperly aligned with the radiation beam, it sends out an alert. Dr. Enke says this is called the action threshold. It allows the clinician to retarget the radiation beam at any time during treatment. "We set an action threshold for the system to alert us when it detected prostate motion of three millimeters or greater. These are much tighter tolerances than normally used. We wanted to know if it was clinically practical, and we proved it was—you can incorporate these tight tolerances into daily practice."

These tight tolerances mean doctors can target the malignancy with higher doses of radiation which is why Calypso appears to offer a better chance for a cancer cure. Dr. Enke points out that it also provides the ability to decrease the treatment margin around the prostate thereby decreasing the dose to surrounding normal structures.

For more information about prostate cancer treatment at The Nebraska Medical Center, visit or call 1-800-922-0000.