This procedure works well for reducing rectal toxicity during radiotherapy for prostate cancer and there are no serious concerns about its safety.
Radiotherapy can be used to treat prostate cancer, but sometimes it can irritate and damage part of the patient’s bowel that lies near the prostate. This can cause side effects such as bowel ulceration, bleeding, diarrhoea and incontinence. In this procedure, an absorbable liquid gel is injected, or a balloon is inserted, into the space between the prostate and the rectum, increasing the distance between them. The aim is to reduce the amount of radiation reaching the rectum, so reducing the risk of side effects there.
Is this procedure right for me?
If you’ve been offered this procedure, your healthcare professionals should discuss with you what is involved, and tell you about the risks and benefits. They should talk with you about your options, and listen carefully to your views and concerns. Your family can be involved too, if you wish. All of this should happen before you agree (consent) to have the procedure. You should also be told how to find more information about the procedure. Read more about making decisions about your care.
Some questions to think about
- What does the procedure involve?
- What are the possible benefits? How likely am I to get them?
- What are the risks or side effects? How likely are they?
- What happens if the procedure doesn’t work or something goes wrong?
- What happens if I don’t want the procedure? Are there other treatments available?
NICE’s information on interventional procedures guidance has more about what a procedure is and how we assess them.
This page was last updated: 23 August 2017