For people with prostate cancer, ‘creating space’ during radiation therapy could make all the difference

(BPT) – Three years ago, Alex Lamb, an active retiree in his early 80s, was happily preparing for a big move to be closer to his son. Then he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“It was a total shock to me. I found out by getting myself checked up regularly,” said Alex, who didn’t experience any symptoms. “I was lucky because otherwise I might not have known until my cancer progressed. The news was hard to hear at first, but I didn’t let it go. I thought there would be a way forward.”

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men, behind skin cancer.1 Compared to many other cancers, prostate cancer grows slowly and is most often found at an early stage . Some cases may not require treatment while others can be treated with options such as surgery and/or radiation therapy.2,3 In Alex’s case, his doctor felt his best option was radiation therapy , an approach that more than 60,000 American men choose to treat. prostate cancer with each year.4

Although the various treatment options have been shown to be effective, they can affect the quality of life of some patients in the form of potentially serious side effects, depending on the dose and the amount of healthy tissue exposed to radiation. 5 Due to the proximity of the prostate to the rectum, radiation therapy can unintentionally cause what is called rectal toxicity, where patients experience damage to healthy tissue surrounding the prostate, which can create problems with urinary functions , sexual and intestinal.5,6,7

For the growing number of patients opting for this form of treatment, there is an option that can help reduce potential harm. SpaceOAR™ Hydrogel is an absorbable gel that creates a temporary space between the prostate and the rectum, and is designed to help reduce the radiation dose to the rectum during radiation therapy. It is inserted via a minimally invasive procedure and is naturally absorbed by the body in approximately six months.6

SpaceOAR Hydrogel has been shown to reduce Grade 1 rectal toxicity by up to 75% in patients at 3 years of follow-up.8 In addition, patients who did not receive SpaceOAR Hydrogel were also eight times more likely to report a decline in quality of life as a result of their radiation therapy.8,9

“After I was diagnosed with cancer, I knew I didn’t want to be treated with drugs,” Alex said. “I opted for radiation therapy, but after hearing about the potential side effects, I was excited to learn more about SpaceOAR Hydrogel from my doctor. The procedure for inserting the spacer was quite simple. received in the morning under general anesthesia and was ready to go home by lunchtime. Within two days I was back to exercising.”*

Three years later, Alex has completed his radiation treatments and is considered in remission from prostate cancer. He now lives close to his son and daughter-in-law and says he feels as healthy as ever. He thanks his healthcare team for helping him recover from prostate cancer and is grateful that his post-treatment symptoms were minimal.

“It’s so important to get screened regularly for prostate cancer and for those who are diagnosed to know that they have a path forward,” Alex said. “If I hadn’t been screened and my doctor hadn’t recommended SpaceOAR Hydrogel, I might be in a very different position today. I would recommend talking to your doctor, exploring your options and find the treatment plan that works best for you.”

To learn more about the importance of detecting prostate cancer early and to speak with a local doctor about treatment options, including radiation therapy with the use of SpaceOAR Hydrogel, visit or Find a doctor in your area.

As with any medical treatment, the results of case studies like Alex’s are not necessarily predictive of results in other cases. Potential complications associated with SpaceOAR Hydrogel include, but are not limited to, pain or discomfort associated with injection, needle penetration into the bladder, prostate, rectal wall, rectum, or urethra, inflammatory reactions, infection, urinary retention, rectal mucosal damage, ulcers, necrosis, bleeding and rectal urgency.10 Safety information and a full list of potential side effects associated with SpaceOAR Hydrogel are available online at


1. American Cancer Society. Key statistics on prostate cancer. Available at: Accessed November 2021.

2. Mayo Clinic. Prostate cancer. Available at: Accessed November 2021. Treatment options for men with early-stage prostate cancer. Available at: Accessed March 2022.

4. Prostate Cancer Foundation. Treatment of prostate cancer: external beam radiation therapy. Available at: Accessed November 2021.

5. Mayo Clinic. External beam radiation for prostate cancer. Available at: Accessed November 2021.

6. How does SpaceOAR hydrogel work? Available at: Accessed March 2022.

7. Odrazka, K., Dolezel, M., Vanasek, J. et al. Time course of late rectal toxicity after radiotherapy for prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 13, 138-143 (2010).

8. Hamstra DA, Mariados N, Sylvester J, et al. Continued benefit of rectal separation for prostate radiation therapy: final results from a phase III trial. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2017 Apr 1;97(5):976-85.

9. Hamstra D, Shah D, Kurtzman S, et al. Evaluation of sexual function on a randomized trial of a rectal prostate spacer. J Clin Oncol. 2017 Feb 20;35(Suppl 6):69.

10. Risks associated with SpaceOAR hydrogel. Available at Accessed March 2022.

*Patient experience varies. Speak with your doctor as individual recovery varies. The experience may not be representative of all cases.

Caution: US Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician.

Case study results are not necessarily predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.

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