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Space Oar

SantaZia
Posts: 64
Joined: Apr 2018

 

I went to the UNM Cancer Center for the SpaceOar injection on Monday.  This was because my local hospital cancer centre doesn’t do the procedure.  If it wasn’t for the 120 miles round-trip drive I would have selected the UNM Cancer Center for my radiation treatment as it was 39 zaps. Similarily if it wasn't 750 miles away I would have used MD Anderson. I have consulted with them all over the past 7 months since diagnosis.  Instead, I will soon be starting 44 fractions of 79.2 RapidArc® Radiotherapy in Santa Fe at Christus St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center.

 

 SpaceOar is a product which is similar to epoxy but water based that is used to protect the rectum and reduce erectile dysfunction for men receiving radiation treatment for prostate cancer.  I thought sharing my experience might be helpful.  There are various products available including balloons to reduce radiation dosage to the colon. However, SpaceOar seems to reduce ED which appeals to me.

 

 So, I was placed on a liquid diet the day before the procedure. I also was prescribed a 500 mg Levofloxacin 3 pills one a day along with a Fleet enema- the night before and morning of.  Prior to the procedure, I accepted a Xanax 5 mg from the nurse to reduce anxiety. I had some anxiety. Not sure I felt the Xanax.  I turned down the Oxycodone as my stomach was bothering me.

 

 Undressed from the waist down and flat on my back on the exam table, I was asked to put my feet in stirrups which spread my legs apart while the technician lifted my legs high in the air. I am on Lupron, a hormone so far 4 ½ months. I am increasing exercise and sex.  I had grown used to hot flashes and low libido caused by the hormone treatment.  At this point, I thought to myself I survived menopause and now I am positioned to experience an annual Pap smear test or the birthing experience. Ha-ha.  Assisting with the procedure was the nurse, a CT tech., an equipment technician and a representative from Augmenix, the company that makes and distributes SpaceOar.  My physician who is a radiation oncologist has managed a number of clinical trials. So, I wasn’t sure if the well-dressed, good-looking woman from Augmenix was monitoring his work or considering him to lead a new clinical trial with the company. After cleaning me up, I was provided a topical anesthetic to numb the surface and another anesthetic injection. I watched the procedure on the CT screen. The needle went along the very small space between the prostate and the rectum. I didn’t feel any pain outside of the initial puncture. At a little past midpoint of the prostate, the gel was injected.  This was the first real pain which was about a 6 on a scale of 10. I was told that the pain would lessen once the needle was removed and it did. The nurse said I did well. After the procedure, I could still feel the added pressure from the injected gel, but my only pain was a slight burning in “the taint” area.  I was glad my wife had come along to drive us home, as I was a little dizzy. The next day I felt fine. Although additional clinical studies are needed if the SpaceOar injection helps to reduce any radiation side effects it will be worth it.  According to my follow-up, T3 MRI the interval placement of hydrogel in between the prostate gland and the rectum appears appropriately placed and measures approximately 4.7 x 1.6 cm in AP and AP dimensions, respectively.

 

 

 

Old Salt
Posts: 720
Joined: Aug 2014

Thanks for giving us the details. I am following several other forums, but haven't come across such a detailed report.

I can see why this procedure is pretty costly. Hope it will turn out great for you. As you are well aware, there are conflicting opinions on the cost/benefit issue of the SpaceOar procedure. 

Here is a link to (obviously positive) info from the company

https://www.spaceoar.com/what-is-spaceoar-hydrogel/spaceoar-clinical-studies/

SantaZia
Posts: 64
Joined: Apr 2018

Thanks, Old Salt. 

VascodaGama's picture
VascodaGama
Posts: 2965
Joined: Nov 2010

Thanks for sharing the details. I hope it will help in avoiding The radiation side effects as described.

Best wishes for a successful treatment.

VG

DougS
Posts: 21
Joined: Dec 2011

My experience with Space Oar was prior to PB radiation treatment in 2016.  I had previously been through IMRT over an eight week period in 2008.  The question in 2016 was whether the previously radiated prostate tissue had become too rigid to allow this procedure.  This was localized recurrence.   It was worth the attempt to avoid inserting the ballon up the rectum with every PB treatment.

I won't lie, even with oxycodone it was a very painful experience.  Recovered quickly though, but the procedure required additional time with the condition of the prostate tissue. 

Post PB treatment was successful with 2 years of a durable remission (PSA<0.006 and T~400)

 

fullmoon50's picture
fullmoon50
Posts: 40
Joined: Dec 2017

Hi to all. My husband decided to get the SpaceOar before his EBRT. He experienced only very minor discomfort. He felt a slight fullness in the region for a day but otherwise, no side effects. Santa Zia, he too had quite an audience during the procedure. When he was placed in position and the injection was imminent, he announced to the room “This reminds me of the time aliens beamed me up to their ship and examined me.”

The doctor thought it was how Paul defused anxiety. Nope. He had an audience! I was brought to the room when the procedure was completed. The young, female resident physician took me aside and told me “He’s kind of stoned from the medications and was cracking jokes. He may not recall that later.” Nope. He recalled it all. I suspect he may have even rehearsed his set before the procedure.

Our insurance, a Medicare Advantage plan, paid the entire costs. Paul had minimal issues with diarrhea during EBRT. Only time will tell if SpaceOar protected him from side effects that can show up much later. 

SantaZia
Posts: 64
Joined: Apr 2018

I am heading to start 44 Arc Zaps on Tuesday.  My Urologist recently told me that he was trained to do the SpaceOar injection, but the local hospital couldn't afford to, as they would lose $600 a patient. Hopefully, your husband will enjoy some benefits from the additional inconvenience with the SpaceOar. Best wishes!

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