Cancer Center Offers New Spacing Device to Benefit Prostate Cancer Patients

Prostate cancer patients receiving radiation treatment can now have a more effective, comfortable experience


(Baton Rouge, La.) Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center (Cancer Center) is the only facility in the region offering a new, innovative tool proven to protect prostate cancer patients from side effects that can occur from radiation therapy. The Cancer Center is now using SpaceOAR hydrogel, the first FDA cleared temporary spacing device to protect vital organs in men being treated for the disease. The gel creates space between the prostate and rectum, and has been shown to reduce bowel, bladder, and erectile damage.

Previously, in order to protect prostate cancer patients’ organs during radiation treatment, it was necessary for a balloon to be inserted into the rectum. This process occurred prior to each radiation dose, with patients receiving treatment once a day over five to nine weeks; conversely, SpaceOAR is a temporary gel and is administered only once.

The SpaceOAR System is injected through the skin into the space between the patient’s prostate and rectum prior to radiation. The gel remains in place for about three months during radiation treatment, and then liquefies, and is absorbed and cleared from the body in the patient’s urine.

“Clinical research has shown that by using SpaceOAR, patients experience fewer side effects and a better quality of life post treatment,” said Charles Wood, M.D., director of radiation oncology at the Cancer Center and the only radiation oncologist in Louisiana who is a Certified Applier of SpaceOAR. “Men facing prostate cancer may have some difficult decisions to make, but the opportunity to utilize this hydrogel over the balloon method is really a simple, clear choice.”

Prostate cancer survivor Ronald Atwood was the first patient treated at the Cancer Center using SpaceOAR gel and attests that it was the best option.

“I’ve had a number of friends treated for prostate cancer in recent years and their experience, due to the invasive nature of the balloon, was much less comfortable, and they did experience side effects. I couldn’t even tell the gel was in my body,” said Atwood. “Now, my cancer is gone, I’m feeling great and I can feel confident knowing that my organs were fully protected during treatment.”

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men in Louisiana, but if caught early, five-year survival is close to 100 percent. Men should begin screenings at age 50 or 45 for African Americans or those with a family history.

For more information, please call the Cancer Center at (225) 767-0847.


About Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center
As a regional destination for cancer care, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center offers the most advance technology and services provided by a dedicated team of nationally-recognized oncology experts. The Cancer Center provides best-practice, comprehensive care at every stage of the cancer journey, including disease site-specific multidisciplinary care teams, a robust clinical research program, extensive supportive care services and is the only facility in the Gulf South with the revolutionary Leksell Gamma Knife®Icon™. As a nonprofit organization, donor generosity is essential to sustaining the mission of improving survivorship and lessening the burden of cancer for so many throughout Southeast Louisiana and beyond. For more information on the Cancer Center, and how you can become involved, please visit